JOHANNESBURG -- Brazil midfielder Felipe Melo said Monday there was no animosity between him and Kaka after a misunderstanding during practice led to speculation that the two were not talking to each other.
Some Brazilian media reported that Kaka was upset with Felipe Melo after a hard challenge during a practice session at the team's camp in South Africa, but the Juventus player said he was not involved in the play and was unjustly accused.
The misunderstanding occurred after a photograph was published showing Kaka apparently not wanting help from Felipe Melo to get up after the tackle. It was actually Robinho who went in hard on Kaka.
Felipe Melo was upset with the newspapers and websites that published the story, and said he was considering a lawsuit. A Brazilian newspaper ran the story and the photo, which were later picked up by some Italian and Brazilian websites.
"I'm not a bad person," Felipe Melo said. "The way they had it, it seems like I'm a bad person. If I go hard in a challenge, it's because it's the way I play, but not because I'm a bad person. ... I have family, they see this and they will come to me asking why I'm doing this to Kaka."
The Brazilian football confederation said in a statement on its website that the incident between Felipe Melo and Kaka, who are expected to start in Brazil's midfield, did not take place.
"Felipe Melo felt he was unjustly blamed for something that never happened," the confederation said. "He is Kaka's friend."
Felipe Melo said he later talked to Kaka and explained what happened.
"[Kaka's] only word to me was, 'unfair'," the defensive midfielder said.
After Monday's practice, it was clear there were no hard feelings. When Kaka went down hard after a challenge from Daniel Alves, Felipe Melo quickly approached the playmaker and gave him a hug. Laughing, both players turned to the journalists to make sure they were watching.
The Brazilians have been practicing hard since arriving in South Africa last week. Kaka and Luis Fabiano are coming off injuries, but coach Dunga has not asked players to go easy on them or any others.
"On the contrary," striker Luis Fabiano said. "He is asking us to play hard and dedicate ourselves. It's a tough competition and it will require a lot from us. We need to be ready."
Dunga again practiced the starters against the reserves on Monday, keeping Elano in midfield and Michel Bastos at left back. The coach seems to have his starting lineup set for Brazil's opening World Cup Group G match, against North Korea on June 15.
Brazil will then face the Ivory Coast on June 20 and Portugal on June 25.
The five-time champion will play a warmup against Zimbabwe in Harare on Wednesday.
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press