Football: Hulk defends Brazil absence

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Brazil forward Hulk has defended his absence from the national football squad for his country's first post-World Cup friendlies under new coach Dunga, who appears to have frozen him out for missing the games in September.

Dunga, who replaced Luiz Felipe Scolari in July after Brazil's World Cup semi-final drubbing by Germany when Hulk was substituted at half-time, called up the 28-year-old Zenit St Petersburg forward for September games against Colombia and Ecuador.

Hulk cried off with a thigh injury but was soon back in action with his Russian club, although he told newspaper Estado de Sao Paulo on Saturday that he had simply made a quicker recovery than expected.

"I felt a muscle behind my left thigh on Aug 31 and called Dunga to tell him what had happened. I asked if he wanted me to come to Brazil to be examined by team doctors but he said no, preferring me to have tests in Russia and to send the results to the Brazilian Confederation (CBF)," he said.

"The test showed an injury normally needing four to six weeks treatment and that was passed on to the CBF.

"Thank God I recovered very quickly," he added, saying he had been having nine hours of treatment a day in Russia.

"I was back in training on the 10th and played against Dynamo Moscow on the 13th. Someone passed incorrect information to Dunga saying I was already back on the sixth," a day after Brazil's friendly win over Colombia.

Since Hulk's injury, Dunga has neither called him into squads for friendlies in Asia and nor is he in the frame for friendlies against Austria and Turkey this month with the likes of Douglas Costa, Roberto Firmino and Luiz Adriano preferred.

Lamenting an apparent "misunderstanding", Hulk said: "If I am out on technical grounds then I must respect that and work all the harder to get another chance.

"I repeat, when I came back for Zenit, the Selecao had already played the two games" for which he was initially called up.

"Dunga was the first coach to call me into the national squad" in 2009, during the latter's first spell in charge.

"I have great respect for him and I want to get back to the Selecao and play the next World Cup," Hulk concluded.