Bayern Munich fullback Rafinha has admitted his shock at sealing a return to the Brazil squad for the Gillette Brasil Global Tour clash with South Africa in Johannesburg on March 5.
The 28-year-old had not appeared for the Selecao in over five years but was named among the 16 European-based players summoned by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari on Tuesday.
Rafinha has been in fine form at the Allianz Arena this season and has revealed the way in which his Brazilian teammates notified him of his return.
“You wouldn’t believe the way it happened,” Rafinha told Globo. “I was at training in the changing rooms. When I picked up my phone there was a message from Marcelo congratulating me for the call up.
“He is a great friend, but I almost didn’t believe it. Then Dante came and hugged me. It was cool the way it happened.”
His inclusion was at the expense of Maicon, who has dropped out of the squad despite grabbing a goal in Brazil’s 5-0 defeat of Honduras in November last year.
The two are great friends, however, and Rafinha says he was touched by one congratulatory call in particular.
“Maicon is a great friend,” he said. “He called me and gave me his congratulations, regardless of being my competitor.
“We are always in touch and were together in Brazil at the end of the year. He’s a guy I met in the national team, but our friendship has continued.”
The trip to Johannesburg will be the last time the squad convenes before Scolari announces his final 23 for the World Cup and Rafinha is desperate to make the most of an unexpected opportunity.
"There will be three days with the national team," he said. "I know most of the players who will be there.
"Everything counts now. I'll be quiet as ever, without forcing anything. I'll do my job and leave the best possible impression."
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