LOS ANGELES: Former world footballer of the year Kaka has been added to the Brazilian roster for next month’s Copa America Centenario as an injury replacement for Bayern Munich midfielder Douglas Costa.
Brazil coach Dunga made the move for the 34-year-old striker of Orlando City after Costa was forced off the squad due to a left thigh injury, the team said late on Thursday.
Kaka, Major League Soccer’s highest-paid player, was expected to immediately join Brazil’s camp at Los Angeles and miss his club’s Sunday match at New York City FC.
Kaka, left off the final 23-man roster for the special US-staged edition of the South American championship, is the most capped player on the team with 91 international appearances and the top scorer with 29 goals.
FIFA’s 2007 World Player of the Year, has played in three World Cups, including Brazil’s triumphant 2002 trophy run, but the former AC Milan and Real Madrid star has never played in a Copa America.
Brazil, among the Copa favorites, will open tournament play on June 4 against Ecuador at Pasadena, California, and also face Haiti on June 8 at Orlando and Peru on June 12 at Foxboro, Massachusetts.
Three other injury replacements were approved Friday by the Copa medical committee, with Panama droping Porto teen striker Ismael Diaz for Martin Gomez and Paraguay adding Serie A’s Udinese fullback Ivan Piris for Club America’s Pablo Aguilar and midfielder Victor Ayala in place of Nestor Ortigoza.