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Madrid Solve Milan’s Recession Woes, in the Hope Kaka Can Solve Theirs

Milan needed money, Real Madrid needed a world-class footballer. Sometimes the most expensive transfers are also the simplest to complete… 

Kaka: Belongs to Jesus... but also Real Madrid

Kaka: Belongs to Jesus... but also Real Madrid

The first Galacticos era under Florentino Perez has not been viewed too kindly by history.
Overblown salaries and egos are remembered, and not with great affection. Too many big names, and not enough team unity seems to have been the overriding summation of Perez’s unique experiment.
When the inevitable end came, it came with ugly recriminations for many concerned.
But, amidst the hedonism and glitter, there were some highlights. None more so than the Champions League title the club won at Hampden Park in 2002, thanks to a sumptuous volley from Zinedine Zidane.
The Frenchman, one of the greatest players ever to grace the game, arrived at Madrid in 2001 for a world-record €73.5m. Along with Luis Figo he was one of the original Galacticos, and invariably the best.
But in the long run, that wasn’t enough.
Back for a second bite at the cherry, the returning Madrid president is hoping history can repeat itself for the Galactico experiment—initially at least. But with Zidane retired (he now acts as an advisor for the club), a new talisman had to be found for a club noticeably lacking in leadership.
For Zidane in 2001, then, read Kaka in 2009.
In the Brazilian, Real Madrid hope they have found the player to reassert their position at the forefront of European football.
Unveiled yesterday for the eye-watering fee of €65m, the former AC Milan attacking midfielder is arguably the modern player most reminiscent of Zidane in his pomp.
The 27-year-old might be more sprightly across the turf with the ball at his feet, but he possesses the nearest approximation to the consummate touch and vision that the Frenchman always exhibited.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi might be the two names most frequently mentioned in conjunction with the phrase “the best player in the world”, but over the last five years, it is hard to argue that Kaka has played at a higher level than his two illustrious peers.
His new employers, perhaps unsurprisingly, clearly agree.
“Kaka, who many consider the best footballer on the planet, now plays for Real Madrid,” Madrid stated bullishly on their website. “What he does from here on out will only add to his legend and that of Real Madrid.”
For their part, AC Milan were remarkably sanguine about the loss of their greatest player. In the current economic climate, such a vast sum of money simply could not be turned down.
“It will be very difficult to fill the void that will be left by Kaka, a shining example of commitment and professionalism,” a statement on the club’s website read. “The Rossoneri offer him the most cordial and affectionate wishes for the continuation of his sporting career.”
The player himself admitted that the transfer had been completed with the club’s approval.
“Everything I’ve always done for Milan has been by mutual agreement, from the moment I arrived until my departure today,” he said.
“The world financial crisis has taken a lot of people by surprise and some clubs, such as Milan, also suffered. This is the best way to help the club at the moment.”
While the sale of Kaka has all but solved the Italian club’s financial problems—chief executive Adriano Galliani admitted last week the club was losing €70m a year—Perez is hoping that the player will solve Madrid’s own footballing recession.
Second in La Liga this season, it was clear to all observers that the club were streets behind the accomplished and exuberant football played by arch-rivals Barcelona.
As the Catalan giants grabbed every trophy in sight, Real seemed to lurch from disaster to disaster. The fans demanded change.
In the end, change seemed to mean regression as Perez was re-elected. But Kaka’s signing, while clearly indicating a return to Galactico’s policy, also hints at a slightly adjusted approach.
Where past Galacticos signings might have been as much for economic reasons as tactical ones—David Beckham being the obvious example, as the club turned down Ronaldinho in his favour as the Brazilian was deemed “too ugly” to be a marketable asset—this time it appears football has been prioritized.
Kaka does not have the world image of Messi or Ronaldo. But by adding his creativity, poise and threat to their side, Perez is hoping the club will be back challenging, and winning, the game’s biggest trophies in the very near future.
The club’s footballing recession would be over.
And in the long run, being successful on the pitch makes more money than any other method.
Kaka is just the first high-profile piece to Madrid’s puzzle. Cristiano Ronaldo might indeed end up being the second piece, David Villa the third. But that is not the real issue.
Last time, Perez’s undoing was to forget about the smaller pieces—the unfashionable water carriers like Claude Makelele who allow the attacking superstars to perform. Possessing the likes of Luis Figo, Ronaldo, and Zidane was great—but worthless without a rigid and disciplined defensive structure.
Will the likes of Lassana Diarra—the nearest approximation to Makelele in the current squad—find a place in the Galacticos Mark II?
Will the signing of a worldclass defensive midfielder (Javier Mascherano, for example) be sanctioned?
For all the attacking talent in the world, it is questions like these that will decide whether Perez’s second coming is more successful than the first.

The first Galacticos era under Florentino Perez has not been viewed too kindly by history.

Overblown salaries and egos are remembered, and not with great affection. Too many big names, and not enough team unity seems to have been the overriding summation of Perez’s unique experiment.

When the inevitable end came, it came with ugly recriminations for many concerned.

But, amidst the hedonism and glitter, there were some highlights. None more so than the Champions League title the club won at Hampden Park in 2002, thanks to a sumptuous volley from Zinedine Zidane.

The Frenchman, one of the greatest players ever to grace the game, arrived at Madrid in 2001 for a world-record €73.5m. Along with Luis Figo he was one of the original Galacticos, and invariably the best.

But in the long run, that wasn’t enough.

Back for a second bite at the cherry, the returning Madrid president is hoping history can repeat itself for the Galactico experiment — initially at least. But with Zidane retired (he now acts as an advisor for the club), a new talisman had to be found for a club noticeably lacking in leadership.

For Zidane in 2001, then, read Kaka in 2009.

In the Brazilian, Real Madrid hope they have found the player to reassert their position at the forefront of European football.

Unveiled yesterday for the eye-watering fee of €65m, the former AC Milan attacking midfielder is arguably the modern player most reminiscent of Zidane in his pomp.

The 27-year-old might be more sprightly across the turf with the ball at his feet, but he possesses the nearest approximation to the consummate touch and vision that the Frenchman always exhibited.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi might be the two names most frequently mentioned in conjunction with the phrase “the best player in the world”, but over the last five years, it is hard to argue that Kaka has played at a higher level than his two illustrious peers.

His new employers, perhaps unsurprisingly, clearly agree.

“Kaka, who many consider the best footballer on the planet, now plays for Real Madrid,” Madrid stated bullishly on their website. “What he does from here on out will only add to his legend and that of Real Madrid.”

For their part, AC Milan were remarkably sanguine about the loss of their greatest player. In the current economic climate, such a vast sum of money simply could not be turned down.

“It will be very difficult to fill the void that will be left by Kaka, a shining example of commitment and professionalism,” a statement on the club’s website read. “The Rossoneri offer him the most cordial and affectionate wishes for the continuation of his sporting career.”

The player himself admitted that the transfer had been completed with the club’s approval.

“Everything I’ve always done for Milan has been by mutual agreement, from the moment I arrived until my departure today,” he said.

“The world financial crisis has taken a lot of people by surprise and some clubs, such as Milan, also suffered. This is the best way to help the club at the moment.”

While the sale of Kaka has all but solved the Italian club’s financial problems — chief executive Adriano Galliani admitted last week the club was losing €70m a year — Perez is hoping that the player will solve Madrid’s own footballing recession.

Second in La Liga this season, it was clear to all observers that the club were streets behind the accomplished and exuberant football played by arch-rivals Barcelona.

As the Catalan giants grabbed every trophy in sight, Real seemed to lurch from disaster to disaster. The fans demanded change.

In the end, change seemed to mean regression as Perez was re-elected. But Kaka’s signing, while clearly indicating a return to Galactico’s policy, also hints at a slightly adjusted approach.

Where past Galacticos signings might have been as much for economic reasons as tactical ones — David Beckham being the obvious example, as the club turned down Ronaldinho in his favour as the Brazilian was deemed “too ugly” to be a marketable asset — this time it appears football has been prioritized.

Kaka does not have the world image of Messi or Ronaldo. But by adding his creativity, poise and threat to their side, Perez is hoping the club will be back challenging, and winning, the game’s biggest trophies in the very near future.

The club’s footballing recession would be over.

And in the long run, being successful on the pitch makes more money than any other method.

Kaka is just the first high-profile piece to Madrid’s puzzle. Cristiano Ronaldo might indeed end up being the second piece, David Villa the third. But that is not the real issue.

Last time, Perez’s undoing was to forget about the smaller pieces — the unfashionable water carriers like Claude Makelele who allow the attacking superstars to perform. Possessing the likes of Luis Figo, Ronaldo, and Zidane was great — but worthless without a rigid and disciplined defensive structure.

Will the likes of Lassana Diarra — the nearest approximation to Makelele in the current squad — find a place in the Galacticos Mark II?

Will the signing of a worldclass defensive midfielder (Javier Mascherano, for example) be sanctioned?

For all the attacking talent in the world, it is questions like these that will decide whether Perez’s second coming is more successful than the first.


This article also appeared on FoxSports.

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June 9, 2009 - Posted by | Sport, World Football | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I think Kaka could actually become the best player in the world again.

    Comment by Bestplayerintheworld | June 9, 2009 | Reply


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