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The Rise and Fall of Ricky Kaka

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17: Kaka of Real Madrid attends the launch of the new adidas Predator boot at the Truman Brewery on May 17, 2011 in London, England  (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 17: Kaka of Real Madrid attends the launch of the new adidas Predator boot at the Truman Brewery on May 17, 2011 in London, England (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images)
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So as we get word that the financial gap between Milan and Real is to large for this move to work:

"The important thing is that we've cast the first stone, but the ball is not in Milan's court.

"The financial issue remains that the two systems are very different. Once a player leaves one country he can't enjoy the same perks when he returns. We're certainly interested. Kaka is a great player who has stayed in the hearts of all Milan fans. Let's see. We'll do what we can.''

I don't really want to discuss the merit of the move here and now. Though I have always contended that if the move makes sense financially and is low risk to the Club that any player is welcome regardless of age or stature. With that said I want to focus more on the downfall of Kaka the player and come clean a bit on my feelings towards him past, present and future.

Kaka left AC Milan at nearly the highest of highs: Word Player of the Year, CL Champion and general face of AC Milan. The problem is the Club was in for a bit of a rebirth, granted one that failed to launch, and heroes like Carletto, Kaka and most importantly Maldini were being phased out. The reins were turned over to Leo and Ronaldinho and seeing where both of those ended up makes you wonder how we got out of that mess. The point is that Kaka was sold on a high note to Real to the tune of 68M, and what happened later is sort of a shame.

While I have always respected Kaka the person tremendously, Kaka the player has always left me perplexed. In one match he can make a slalom run to goal beating defenders with moves and speed only to finish a perfect goal while in others he couldn't even make a simple pass. Not really a striker, not really a playmaker and not really a midfielder, his true strength came with the ball at his feet in an around the 18 yard box. This tactical oddity made finding a place for Kaka a challenge, the XMAS tree was perfect, but only Carletto can truly make the happen. He could be deployed as a second striker, but any closer to your own goal he becomes a defensive liability as his tracking back, tackling, and defensive awareness are awful. Which is in fact part of the reason he is no longer in Mourinho's plans as players who lack a well rounded resume tend not to be, and this brings us to the crux of the issue.

Modern football seemingly no longer has a place for a one dimensional player. Fans will argue that Messi does not defend or CRON, does not track back, but these are truly exceptional players who are allowed a bit of leeway and cover by teammates and Coaches. Kaka however is no longer at that level, and when you are no longer at that level, you no longer allowed those "benefits." Couple in the fact that his injury record is not stellar and you now have a player who at 30 years old is far more of a liability then an asset, and has done nothing but justify his sale and departure from AC Milan by ten fold.

So what happens to a player humbled by own his lack of ability? Well a few things, he could return to Milan at a low risk, low cost move where Allegri can use him as a support/second striker. He can return to Brazil like his washed up countryman before him, except to Kaka's credit he didn't gain weight and or lose his work ethic. Maybe he goes to MLS, the Middle East or Asia where a team can still build around him and allow him to flourish, or maybe he joins up with Carletto and Leo again and completes the full Milan defection!? I don't have an answer to any of those questions, I have opinions on them, but at the end of the day it is up to Kaka to decide if he wants to come and be a leader at the new Milan for a reduced wage, or to go continue to get paid far more than he is worth.

I will leave you with this thought...Kaka and I had our moment, I cheered as he hoisted the 2007 CL Trophy, but I don't owe him anything beyond that. While he allowed me to enjoy one of my favorite moments as a fan of AC Milan, and while I never regarded him in the level of my heroes and in a sense fully understand the rise and decline of a player with his characteristics. For him it was right place, right Coach, right time, and for Milan the choice to sell was spot on, the question is will they learn from their mistakes or be dommed to repeat them like a love struck twenty something who things getting back with his ex girlfriend is ever a good idea...