RIO DE JANEIRO - Striker Alexandre
Pato, who missed Brazil's last two Copa America warm-ups
with a shoulder injury, said on Monday he was fully fit to help
the holders defend their title in Argentina next month.
Fred played in Pato's absence in this month's friendlies
against the Netherlands, a 0-0 draw in Gioania, and a 1-0 win
over Romania in Sao Paulo in which he scored the only goal.
"I'm 100 percent, because if I was injured I wouldn't be
here," AC Milan's Pato told reporters as the Brazil squad
assembled in Rio for Tuesday's departure to Argentina for the
July 1-24 tournament.
"I'm OK and I respect Fred, but I'm going to work to play
in the number nine shirt. I'll play my football and help the
national team seek that title."
Pato said the Copa America, coach Mano Menezes' first
competition in charge of Brazil, has an additional importance
because as 2014 World Cup hosts they will not be playing the
South American qualifiers and will miss competitive action.
"Despite not playing the qualifiers, we'll make the Copa
America a test for Brazil and I'm confident," he said.
Brazil, who beat Argentina in the last two finals of Copa
America in 2004 and 2007, meet Venezuela in their opening match
in La Plata on July 3.
They face Paraguay and Ecuador in Cordoba
on July 9 and 13 in their other Group B matches.
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