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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Journey Home: Kaka Back to Sao Paulo or AC Milan?

Rumors continue to swirl about the career of Kaka, Brazilian international and attacking midfielder for Real Madrid. After undergoing knee surgery in early August, the former 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year and Balloon d'Or Winner has been linked with moves to Sao Paulo, AC Milan and Chelsea. Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho denies claims that the Los Blancos are ready to sell their signing from AC Milan in the January transfer window, but recent reports from Sao Paulo and AC Milan have fueled speculation that the Brazil number 10 may be leaving the Bernabeu in early 2011. Sao Paulo Vice President Carlos Augusto de Barros e Silva expressed hope that Kaka would join his former Brazil club on loan, but noted that the distance between Kaka's movement to Sao Paulo and his departure from Real Madrid remained significant. De Barros e Silva remarked that every Sao Paulo fan would be thrilled to witness the return of Kaka, who began his career at Sao Paulo before moving to AC Milan in 2003. Kaka spends time with Sao Paulo management when he returns to Brazil, and did so prior to World Cup 2010 in an attempt to recover from a groin injury. Part of Sao Paulo's attempt to lure Kaka back to Brazil features the proposition of bringing about a complete return to form for the Brazilian playmaker by means of their world class training facilities and personnel.

Meanwhile, AC Milan CEO Adriano Galliani performed a 180 degree inversion of his earlier position that, under no circumstances would Kaka be able to return to the to the San Siro, saying "never say never" with respect to the prospect of the former Rossoneri star's return. Galliani, who was linked with the summer's acquisitions of Robinho and Ibrahimovic, has been rumored to be amenable to Ronaldinho's departure in favor of Kaka's return. And a recent report in Il Giorno claimed that Kaka had phoned Galliani, expressing regret about his move to Real Madrid and the urgency of his desire to return to the club that made him an international star. Aside from Sao Paulo, Kaka's former AC Milan boss, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancellotti, has expressed interest in signing Kaka, as have Manchester United and Internazionale.

Kaka's August 5 knee surgery appears to have gone well and the midfielder has begun intense physiotherapy at Real Madrid. The Brazilian playmaker has dismissed media rumors about his transfer, noting that his primary and only focus has been on recovery according to the regimen prescribed by his physicians, physiotherapists and coaching staff. Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho claimed that Kaka is "crucial" for the success of Los Blancos, though everyone knows "The Special One" can hardly be taken at his word.

Amidst all the rumors, it's anyone's guess as to where Kaka will land in January. Given his allegiance to the Rebirth in Christ Church, it would not be surprising if Kaka sought the guidance and mentorship characteristic of the church in his professional life by opting to journey home either to AC Milan or Sao Paulo. Sao Paulo would give the player a mild respite from the scrutiny of the press and allow him to focus on regaining his physical fitness and strength in a place that he calls home. AC Milan would allow Kaka to enjoy the friendship and professional understanding of his friend Robinho and a management team that fully believes in his demonstrated ability to shine at the San Siro. But Kaka's faith in Jesus also translates into a confidence about life's trajectory that gives him the conviction to believe that he can succeed anywhere, and overcome the adversity of his injuries on almost any terrain. Following his knee surgery, Kaka claimed that he would regain his place as the best footballer in the world. Given the strength of his convictions and history of overcoming hardships such as the teenage swimming pool accident that nearly terminated his career, one would be hard pressed to bet against his return to form as the best attacking midfielder in the world, whether at Real Madrid, AC Milan, Sao Paulo or elsewhere.

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