So Luiz Felipe Scolari has named his final Brazil squad for 2013. And whilst there were a couple of surprises on the list, there remained no room for veteran Kaka, who showed promising progress after his return to AC Milan at the end of September.
Nineteen-year-old Marquinhos, recent Chelsea acquisition Willian and a recall for Kaka's teammate Robinho after a two-year hiatus made the big news across the Brazilian press as the Selecao prepare for games against Honduras and Chile.
But for the first time since his return to the international fold, Scolari broke rank and spoke about a player not included in his squad.
Having rebuffed constant interrogation over the poorly handled Diego Costa affair it must have seemed like a breath of fresh air to speak about a player who is an old favourite; Kaka.
The 2007 World Player of the Year is enjoying something of a renaissance after his return to the Italian outfit. And last week the 31-year-old was given a huge incentive by Big Phil to continue his positive start to life back in Italy.
Speaking to Italian newspaper Correire Sport, Scolari said, “I am happy Kaka has returned to a club offering him the chance to get back to 100%.
“I am keeping an eye on all Milan's matches. There remains the possibility I could call up Kaka in the future.”
High praise indeed and indicative of the early signs the playmaker could recapture something close to his scintillating form of 2006-09, during which he led Milan's successful Champions League charge in 2007.
But to put it frankly, the last four years have been disastrous for the former Sao Paulo prodigy. Sold to Real Madrid for a then world record fee that was soon eclipsed by Cristiano Ronaldo's own transfer that same summer, the Brazilian never managed to emerge from the Portuguese's shadow.
Perversely, after losing his place in the national team, he had been beginning to make inroads in international football again under Scolari's predecessor Mano Menezes. Playing a loose 4-2-4 formation, Menezes wanted an experienced head to guide the promising offensive options likes Neymar and Oscar.
Having dispensed with Ronaldinho, the responsibility fell to Kaka. Despite not playing regular club football, his performances in the yellow of Brazil epitomised what he is about.
Leading the attacking line calmly and effectively, he was a figure to look up to for those around him. But since Scolari's return, he has received just one call-up at the end of March and did not feature in the nation's Confederations Cup campaign this past June.
Now that could be set to change. Kaka made a slow start to life back at Milan after picking up a knee injury on his debut against Torino.
After four years in the creative wilderness fans were skeptic about his talents. Successive injuries looked to have robbed him of the ability to produce that little bit of magic, that lung bursting sprint or venomous shot that had so often made the difference in the past.
He proved them wrong with his first goal for the club at the end of October, a wonderful curling effort against Lazio.
Kaka's ascension is in stark contrast to his club's woes. Coach Massimo Allegri could be one defeat from the chop with the club slumming it in tenth place.
But as the attacking midfielder takes baby steps towards the kind of form that put him amongst the top echelon of players during the past decade, it is hugely beneficial to know the door is not shut on a Selecao return.
Brazil's side today is built with leaders at the back with the likes of Daniel Alves and Thiago Silva. To have one along the front line would seem prudent and Kaka is proving he still has the technique to make a difference.
During his club's two recent meetings with Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League he created both Milan goals. With seven months until the World Cup he has one very clear goal of his own.
The man teamates call “Ricky” has already taken part in three World Cups. It looked like his time had passed.
But there could be one more chapter to be written during Brazil's most important World Cup tournament since 1950. You just can't write Ricky off.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.