Manchester City flop brought out of international wilderness after two years

Manchester United star Rafael has missed his chance of Brazilian redemption with a hamstring problem, so Maicon gets the nod.

When Manchester City snapped up Maicon last summer for £3 million it seemed an odd signing. The player was once regarded as the best right-back in the world, but his star started to fade ever since a fresh-faced Welshman by the name of Gareth Bale made him look like a park player in 2010.

But Roberto Mancini had worked with him in Milan and needed cover in the right-back position - so his acquisition made sense.

A year later, it was regarded as one of the flop buys of the season.

Maicon looked a shadow of the swashbuckling ‘future Cafu’ who had hearts in mouths in his mid-20’s. The once galloping horse had something of a permanent limp now - and the pace of the Premier League was just too much for his ailing physique.

He suffered injuries but played poorly when fit and when Mancini left, the writing was on the wall, Maicon would be leaving this summer.

He was left out of the tour of South Africa, and joined AS Roma for absolutely nothing mid-way through July.

Since then however, he must have impressed in pre-season.

Because the 32-year-old has seen his long-standing absence from the Brazilian national team come to an end - with his first call-up since a disastrous display against Paraguay in 2011.

Maicon has barely been mentioned since as a genuine option for Selecao - but comes in for the friendlies against Australia and Portugal next month.

He will act as back-up for Dani Alves, a role that has recently been bequeathed to the likes of Marcos Rocha, Adriano and a heap of central defenders capable of operating on the right.

The consensus was that Rafael f Manchester United was finally going to receive his chance at making amends for what was perceived as a lazy performance in the Olympic Games last summer with a call-up - but he is out injured with a hamstring problem. It may be that is the only reason why the Roma veteran has been included in a squad trying to recover from a defeat against Switzerland earlier in the month.

Does Maicon have a shot at going to the World Cup next summer? Surely not?

image: © daly3d

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