Former Ballon d’Or winner, Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite was given a lifeline by Brazil coach Menezes as the Real Madrid man was called up to the national team squad for the friendlies against Iraq and Japan. Kaka’s brilliant showing in the 8-0 rout of Millonarios FC was enough to convince Menezes to call up the former AC Milan star for the upcoming games. Kaka’s last outing for Brazil was during the 2-1 reverse against the Netherlands during the 2010 World Cup. With his recent call up and a second half cameo for Madrid means a final hurray? Is this Kaka’s chance to reignite his diminishing career?
Kaka scored a hat-trick and provided two assists in his 60 minute spell during the Bernabeu Trophy. So far this season, Kaka wasn’t afforded any playing time to prove himself but Madrid’s midweek match against Millonarios FC was an opportunity which Kaka grasped with both hands.
The Brazilian star was given the captain’s armband for the night and didn’t disappoint with his performance at all. Moreover, it convinced Jose Mourinho to give Kaka some much deserved playing time against Deportivo. The attacking midfielder replaced Mesut Ozil at half time and had a productive outing. He won the penalty from which Ronaldo scored Madrid’s fifth and his third.
Kaka did have the chance to put his name on the score sheet but the brilliance of Daniel Aranzubia denied him the opportunity to do so. The Brazilian was quite lively during his spell on the pitch and can build upon this performance in the future.
The second coming of Kaká
Assistant coach Aitor Karanka, in his post-match address, said that Kaka was very much a part of their plans and counted on him to play in some games. Karanka also remarked that they insisted to the Brazilian that he’d get playing time if he stayed on.
It may well be true as Jose Mourinho has begun a rotational policy in each fixture as he can now afford to give rest to players like Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa. He also praised Kaka’s improvement over the months and showed support for the struggling Brazilian.
Off the pitch, Kaka has been a successful signing for los blancos, as suggested by club president Florentino Perez. He was signed from Milan for a whopping €68.5 million and his jersey sales has outnumbered that of other Madrid players across the world.
"We've never said that we wanted to sell Kaka, and we've never tried to sell him," Perez told supporters at an assembly of club members.
“Kaka has earned us lots of money. He came to the club three years ago as an investment that has brought us big profits. Economically speaking, it's a transfer that has borne fruits,” he added.
|Cartoon: Kaka belongs to Brazil|
A fit and an in form Kaka has a lot to offer to Madrid not only with his performances on the pitch but also his mere presence on the bench. Mourinho experimented with his starting lineup against Deportivo on Sunday in a manner he hadn’t done before. He had given Xabi Alonso a start from the bench while Luka Modric played alongside Sami Khedira.
Mourinho knew that he could count on the services of Kaka if things didn’t go as planned. However, a half time lead would mean that Kaka would get his chance to shine without having any pressure to perform. With Kaka around, Mourinho can also experiment with his tactics and tweak the system a little if it is required.
With his latest call up to Brazil in over two years, Kaka has been given the golden chance to show the world that he isn’t finished as yet and what bigger way to show it than playing well for your country.
Mano Menezes, the Brazil manager, had mentioned earlier that he wouldn't call Kaka into the team until he plays regularly for Madrid. However he agreed that it was the determination of the Brazilian to regain his form and place which impressed him. And mind you, it wasn't that Menezes included him in his squad following the 8-0 demolition of the Colombian side.
Kaka can be an integral part for Madrid and Brazil. Madrid’s quest for the Tenth Champions League title would mean that the whole squad will be needed to perform at any given time; which will be a litmus test for the Brazilian. A test he must pass…
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