Kaka became the player with the second most expensive transfer fee, for a brief period, when he switched from AC Milan to Real Madrid in June 2009. A player of Kaka’s caliber is rarely doubted for his talent and with his heroics in leading Brazil to the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup title gave the Madridistas a glimpse of what he was going to bring to the Bernabeu. But what happened from June 2009 onwards turned the hero into a benchwarmer and a substitute, the two adjectives which weren’t associated with Kaka since his rise to fame with AC Milan. What went wrong? Why did Kaka fail to please the Madrid faithful and eventually became a victim of the “Bernabeu Bite?”
Injury can probably be highlighted as the biggest reason as to why Kaka failed at Madrid. The playmaker’s injury troubles in his first two seasons didn’t go down well with the Madrid supporters as they had expected him to shine from the start. He was out for eight months after he was operated on a long standing left knee injury in 2010. Periodical injuries later on also hampered with his playing time and availability with Jose Mourinho looking towards the likes of Jose Callejon and Gonzalo Higuain/Karim Benzema to start on the wings in Di Maria’s absence. If not any other reason, this is the chief reason why he failed at Real Madrid.
With Kaka injured for almost one full season, Real Madrid snapped up German star Mesut Ozil in August 2010 after his brilliant performances for Germany at the 2010 World Cup. The arrival of Ozil meant that Kaka was no longer going to be the first choice. Initially brought in as a backup for the injured Brazilian, Ozil slowly took over the playmaker’s tag and hence has been the preferred choice for Jose Mourinho. Unlike Kaka, Ozil took very little time to settle in Spain and quickly started contributing with assists and vital goals. Kaka failed to capitalize on the opportunities given to him and was hooked off many times near the hour mark.
PRESSURE TO PERFORM
New signings at Real Madrid are always under pressure to perform their best. The Bernabeu crowd is impatient and they demand a lot from the player since his very first day. A lot of players who responded positively to this pressure succeeded like Ruud van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso and earlier Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo. Kaka was under immense pressure to perform from the beginning as he carried a lot of expectations and the injuries that he suffered only added to the burden. Even Nuri Sahin is undergoing a similar thing like that of his teammate. Sahin hasn’t put in stand out performances so far in the opportunities given and runs the risk of becoming a benchwarmer for the 2012-13 season too.
LACK OF FORM
Injuries and prolonged breaks from the game also affected the former AC Milan star’s form. He struggled to match the level with which he played at the San Siro. The impatience of the Madridistas frustrated the Brazilian as he found game time hard to find. Whenever he featured, he didn’t put in spectacular performances which were “promised” by his massive price tag. However, Kaka has found some of his form in the last season with excellent displays in a few games. But is it too late now?
Ever since the AC Milan star joined Real Madrid, rumours were always there that he’d be leaving the Bernabeu at the end of the season. The injuries suffered by Kaka and the purchase of Ozil indicated that Madrid didn’t want to put their eggs in the Brazilian’s basket. He was linked him to a host of clubs like Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham and more recently Paris Saint-Germain whereas a return to AC Milan was always a better bet with the bookies. All the distraction from the media sort of unsettled the player as his future was always uncertain. Every year Kaka answered the same question over and over again that whether he was going to stay or was he looking for a club where he could play more often.
|AC MILAN SEASON 2007-08|
|AC MILAN SEASON 2008-09|
|REAL MADRID SEASON 2009-10|
|REAL MADRID SEASON 2010-11|
|REAL MADRID SEASON 2011-12|
Kaka’s career may have taken a slight detour but the Brazilian can surely regain his lost form and make a comeback. He needs to answer the critics and vastly improve his performances if he wants to feature for the Seleccao during the World Cup on home soil. Adriano Galliani, the Milan CEO, confirmed that he will soon meet Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to discuss the transfer of Kaka. The Madridistas won’t be missing him much as he’d be probably replaced by Luka Modric. A hatful of good performances and the tag of failing at a big club will haunt the Brazilian for a long time as he always desired to succeed at the Bernabeu. His future is still uncertain as to whether he’s leaving or whether he is going to stay, let's see what happens. Maybe he can “atone” for his previous performances in the upcoming season for the Los Blancos