OLUFEMI ATOYEBI writes on the sudden return of Kaka to the heart of Real Madrid as the 2012 El Clasico first leg looms
With the El Clasico coming up on Sunday, Real Madrid midfielder, Kaka, could not have wished for a better time to regain his position in Jose Mourinho team after months of struggle to return to full fitness.
In a week when Barcelona suffered the loss of captain and defender Carles Puyol in the Champions League match against Benfica, Real revel in the return of Kaka as he had an impressive appearance on Wednesday, a day after Puyol dislocated his shoulder. Kaka was involved in all the thrilling moments against Ajax, providing an assist and coming so close to getting on the score sheet in the 4-1 win.
Apart from Puyol loss, Barcelona will be without Gerard Pique for the match against Real on Sunday with coach Tito Vilanova being forced to rely on make-shift defenders Javier Mascherano and Alex Song.
Kaka’s sudden return to Mourinho’s team is like unleashing a secret weapon ahead of the clash against rivals Barca.
But his return was not a smooth one. The Brazilian endured difficult 12 months, culminating in the rumour of his sale back to AC Milan, where he spent six years, scoring 70 goals in 193 appearances, before joining Real in 2009. But the deal fell through and the 2007 World Football of the Year was forced to play his way back to reckoning. After scoring a hat-trick in a friendly match against Millionares last week Mourinho was convinced that the player should be given a second chance in the heart of the team.
Since joining Real in £53m deal, Kaka has not had an injury-free season and the coming of Geran Mesut Ozil from Shalke 04 in 2010 was a sign of how frustrated Real were with the Brazilian.
At the beginning of the season, Mourinho surprised many by including the midfielder in his Champions League team list, despite growing rumour that the player would leave in January.
But he did not play his first match of the season until Sunday, coming off the bench in Real’s 5-1 La Liga win at home to Deportivo Coruna, their ninth game of the season. But Kaka seized the moment to win Mourinho’s confidence. The coach said there was never a problem with the midfielder’s quality, even though he had confined him to the bench in crucial games.
He said, “I decided that with his characteristics, the nature of the opponents and the work he did during the week, it would be good for us if Kaka played against Ajax.
“The media thinks every time a player of status is on the bench it’s a big problem. My job is to think about who will play and to tease out the best performances. I have to choose 11 players and there will always be someone left out.”
Aware of his growing recognition, Kaka knows there is a chance of featuring in the El Clasico on Sunday, agreeing that the week had been a great one for him.
“This has been a very good week for us so far. I think I’m headed in the right direction. I showed that the work I’ve been doing is paying off and I’m regaining the confidence of the coach, and that’s what I always hoped would happen.
“I want to gain his trust, play more, and bit by bit I think things will turn out the way they should. Now we can look forward to giving our all in the clásico because it’s a crucial match for us.”
Mourinho was not the only coach that is happy about Kaka’s return, Brazil coach, Mano Menezes, was quick to recall the player to the national team after the hat-trick against Millionares. The call came two years after Kaka last played for Brazil and he will feature in the two friendly matches against Japan and Poland in October. The last time he was called to the team, an injury prevented him from featuring against Egypt and Gabon in November 2011.
More Stories in Sports
Source : punchng[dot]com