Rumour has it that European giants AC Milan are considering buying their sensational attacking midfielder Ricardo lzecson dos Santos better known as ‘Kaka’, back from Real Madrid this winter. City rivals Internazionale FC too are in the race to avail the services of the Brazilian. With Milan quite seemingly keen on adding an extra dimension to its ordinary-looking midfield, Inter will have its own agenda in seeking his services.

Kaka has performed at a level far lower than the heady levels of expectations of both club and fans ever since his move to the Santiago Bernabeu at the beginning of the last season. The injury-prone season that it was for him, did not produce results matching his mammoth 65 Million Euros move from the Rossoneri. Speculation was rife that Galliani had been aware of possible fitness issues with his number 22 and pushed through the deal nevertheless.

Kaka has so far been only a shadow of his own self and any prolonged absence from the first team squad is only going to make matters worse. Meanwhile, the arrival of Jose Mourinho at Real along with a number of new faces that the Portuguese believes would suit his style of play, threatens Kaka’s survival in the club. The purchases of Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira have already choked the Real midfield blue enough for anyone to reserve a permanent place.

What actually went wrong in Madrid?

Kaka was the dream-buy in 2009 of then coach Manuel Pellegrini who had plans to play him in a trequartista alongside Madrid’s already strong midfield made up of the Dutch threefold – Sneijder, Robben and van Der Vaart. However, the ambitions of the club president Fiorentino Perez prevailed and he went on to snatch three more stars in the form of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso. Perez later explained the giant spending exercise was borne out of his desperation to break the dominance of arch rivals FC Barcelona in Spain’s domestic circuit. These moves certainly made the Madrid squad look the real deal on paper but it hastened the departure of the Golden Dutch generation.

Amongst the newly bought players, Cristiano Ronaldo was the most high-profile deal and the onus lay on Pellegrini to implement a game that would allow him to close enough space up front with another fresh forward Gonzalo Higuain. With the squad at his disposal, Pellegrini had no other option but to go with the two-layer midfield since Xabi Alonso was the only top-ranked holding midfielder the squad could boast of – this was a role Sneijder had earlier carried out seamlessly from the centre.

Real Madrid star player Ricardo Kaka leaves the hospital where he has undergone a knee surgery in Antwerp, Belgium on August 6, 2010. Photo by Conentra-Marc Goyvaerts/Reporters/ABACAPRESS.COM  Photo via Newscom

A recurrent scene for Kaka in Madrid

Kaka was shackled from exhibiting his style of play that mainly required two physically tough midfielders holding fort on either side of the midfield – for which he had Gattuso and Seedorf during his days at Milan. The only other option the coach had was to allow Kaka to play a little closer to the attacking line but that was akin to compromising Ronaldo’s scoring aspirations by requiring the Portuguese to play as a traditional winger. Aggravated injuries meant Kaka could only find the net a total of 8 times in 25 league appearances for Los Blancos. 

A Poor World Cup

Brazil were rated one of the favourites to lift the trophy at South Africa earlier this year, but their much-maligned style of play coupled with the exclusion of Ronaldinho and Pato did take its toll. Kaka started all the games as the key playmaker and supplier-in-chief to the two forwards Luis Fabiano and Robinho. The 4-3-3 design that was adopted suited Kaka’s style of play but the three chosen midfielders – Felipe Melo, Elano and Gilberto Silva were all holding midfielders and thus the supply of short passes that was so crucial given Kaka’s advanced position, did not occur the way it should have. What resulted was a disjointed midfield that lacked substance and attacking intent, with Kaka remaining isolated.

Spanish Siesta

Kaka is expected to be rested for two more months before being fully match-fit to represent Real Madrid at the highest level. By then, the league would have definitely taken a certain shape, if not a conclusive one. The first round of group matches in the Champions League too would have been done with and the managers are usually expected to have settled on their first choice team.

July 02, 2010 - Port Elizabeth, South Africa - epa02234001 Brazilian player Kaka gestures after a tackle during the FIFA World Cup 2010 quarter final match between Netherlands and Brazil at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 02 July 2010. Netherlands won 2-1.
Kaka had a terrible World Cup

On his return, Kaka may well expect to be on the bench. While that is something not befitting his stature as a player, Jose Mourinho is not one to get carried away by star-power.

Milan already has enough reasons to worry about especially after the way their midfield has performed so far. Kaka’s arrival may allow Allegri to reintroduce Ancelotti’s famous Christmas tree formation. Milan’s unfriendly neighbours Inter Milan too seem to have an interest in strengthening the attacking midfielder position. At present, the role falls to Sneijder, but the Dutchman being a brilliant dribbler of the ball, would love to hold a deeper position than his current one. There is a catch; Kaka’s emergence as the fourth member in the trequartista in the present Inter setup could unsettle the harmony Eto’o and Milito have nurtured over one highly triumphant season. Hiring Kaka’s services could see the left-footed Goran Pandev starting more number of games for Inter should Benitez decide in favour of his accuracy of passes.

The have-money-will-spend approach of Manchester City may lure them too into the race to purchase Kaka. The unending ambitions of the owners of the club have seen them buy big names over the last two years but Roberto Mancini is yet to settle upon a winning combination. A place in an incoherent side therefore would not exactly match Kaka’s needs as presently he is still to rediscover his touch.

A move to America !

Major League Soccer (MLS) have lately sought the bigger names in Europe with the aim of taking the stature of their league to another level. So far, all they have been able to cash in is players who are rated way past their prime and are not considered serious candidates at surviving another season in Europe. This time around though, the big guns in the MLS may look to change that trend by coming up with a massive bid for Kaka. His troubles in Spain are no secret and perhaps the Americans may find this the right time to persuade Kaka to reach to an agreement over a move.

Home Sweet Home

One may like to end things where they had begun. A move back to Sau Paulo therefore – the club where it all begun – may be a plausible move for the charismatic Brazilian. Kaka spent a formative eleven years of his career with the Tricolor Paulista and he may want to retire a Morumbi. The current champions Flamengo too may show their interest should Kaka show any interest in a move to the motherland. Another reason they may consider a massive investment is that they have lost Adriano to AS Roma and are in a desperate need for someone who can lift the team’s game with his inspiring presence.

Final Notes

Prolonging his stay at Madrid is in no way going to help Kaka’s cause. The time has come to make a decision. This may prove to be one of the most crucial decisions in shaping what remains of his future as a footballer. The last time he made a move was at his club’s will; this time round he has to do it for himself.

It is safe to assume the whole footballing world would love to see a player of Kaka’s calibre and character keep playing top flight football for as long as he can. As one of the true gentlemen left in the sport, it will be up to the Brazilian to prove that nice guys don’t necessarily finish last.

– Parth Pandya

16 Responses to “Kaka – From Riches To Rags?”

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  1. LordAnonymous says:

    Lol dont agree with the point in that article that kaka had a bad WC. He had 4 assists (?) or something as play maker more than xavi and iniesta combined.
    Brazil may have had a bad WC as a whole. But there wasnt much wrong with his performances.

  2. The shot that hit the post against Holland… That was a magical… Would love to have him at Barcelona to succeed Xavi.

  3. TheLordAnonymous says:

    kaka had a bad wc? lol

  4. redNblack_blood says:

    @author you forgot the main reason which gave rise to these rumors . milan are finding it a lil difficult to make dinho sign a new contact with them for a much lower wage than his present 8 million per annum salary… if the talks between them fail then he might have left us in Jan and as a result these rumors started doing the rounds.. although they have all been squashed by Allegri and Seedorf…

  5. Parth Pandya says:

    LordAnynymous, Blaugrana: Thank you for sharing your feedback. As I believe must have happened, you seem to have checked the cross-head in the article but I am afraid you please have a look at the actual matter too. I have highlighted the same opinion as of yours. That despite not being principally wrong, Kaka could not make it a productive world cup thanks to poor tactical management and wrong choice of fellow midfielders by Dunga. I appreciate, you guys share a similar view as that of mine. I have never said, he was poor during the world cup.

    redNblackblood: Of course, that makes one of the reasons but since the post talks more from Kaka’s angle, I chose not to speak in details about Milan’s perspective over the possible transfer. Let us hope, the Rossonerri strike the best deal.

  6. visu says:

    nice insight at wats happening in RM. totally agree with ‘What actually went wrong in Madrid?’ part

  7. kalabaloo says:

    Let him come on loan then we’ll recycle him in MilanLab 😛

    Actually it’s highly impossible that he’ll return in winter , can give a thought to summer transfer depending on his fitness and Mou’s plan

  8. redNblack_blood says:

    @parth
    firstly its rossoneri not rossonerri…..secondly i’d like to tell you that initially inter were linked to kaka as moratti and inter fans were more than was frustated with Berlusconi cause we had just snatched their former champion striker, but kaka’s reply to someone on twitter not so long ago had put all these rumors to rest and after that inter backed out on their own. just for your information let me tell you that he had ended his tweet but saying “forza milan”..which was like a slap on that face of moratti and rest of the merda fans.
    p.s. I am not making up this twitter story, you can validate it on twitter yourself.

    And thirdly how can you not take the club’s perspective man?? this rumor started off after his tweet and fueled up after dinho’s expected departure was seen on the cards. A decent attempt but i wanna say you missed out on few key points thr sir :)

  9. Parth Pandya says:

    My bad, on the spelling mistake part.
    I myself am aware about the twitter controversy that you are talking about and trust me had to resist my temptation not to mention about it.
    My basic idea was that let the article talk about what has gone wrong with Kaka since his move @ Madrid and now who all could be the possible players trying to snatch him from Madrid?
    I wanted to cover the motives of all the clubs and I focused a little more on Milan and Inter mentioning things that can settle and unsettle on his arrival.
    The twitter story that you are talking about is itself such a big event that one could have been woven in the article but I wanted to make sure that Milan not be the only club the article discusses.
    However, thanks for drawing everyone’s attention over the matter and do keep reading the next articles in queue and keep commenting with the same intensity. Forza Rossoneri….

  10. I don’t think Kaka can be the one he used to be in Milan…. ever again :(

  11. redNblack_blood says:

    😀 parth parth parth…. 😀

    trust me i’ll be commenting here, i have kinda hooked onto this website since past few months :)

  12. Parth Pandya says:

    That’s so nice to hear.
    I so wish to post more and more articles here and wish people like you to read them.
    Cheers…. Let the color be Red n Black….