Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Forza Kaka!

No, this is not a piece on Rajesh Khanna. Although, i do admit being mesmerized by his acting skills, or the lack of it, on quite a few occasions. This is about the magician, the enforcer, the creator, and the finisher. The footballer. Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite a.k.a. Kaka.

The ace midfielder of AC Milan has been undoubtedly been one of the best in the world since the past few years. People tend to focus on the magic of his Brazilian team mate Ronaldinho, but those who have followed Italian Serie A closely would agree with me. Scoring goals in Serie A is a lot tougher than in the Spanish Primera. Most of the teams in Italy play football with a defensive mindset and many games end in 1-0 scoreline. The Spanish league is more flamboyant compared to it and the emphasis is more on scoring spectacularly than defending. This is not to say that Kaka is better than Ronaldinho, who would probably end up as one of the top 5 footballers of all time. But he is just as good.And effective.

Kaka is a complete footballing package. He has got pace, power and an amazing eye for pinpoint passes. His sublime passes from the midfield would even put the deft touches of Cesc Fabregas to shame. On countless occasions, he has assisted goals with his exemplary vision. He creates spaces that doesn't exist in the eyes of lesser players. But he has another ability which very few midfielders have. Goal scoring.
On an average, he scores more than 10 goals every season. In fact, he nearly scored 20 goals for Milan during 2005-06, the season when he was widely regarded as the best in the world and was awarded the best midfielder in Champions League competition. His pace is on par with any top notch striker, he can shoot with either of his feet, his finishing is clinical and precise. And his best ability is to take long shots at goals. He scores many of his goals from a good distance and the goalkeeper can expect a thunderous volley anytime the ball is on his feet.The art that players like Paul Scholes and Pavel Nedved have perfected.

Other than AC Milan, the beneficiary of his rare skills has been his national team Brazil. He is equally dangerous when playing for Brazil, which cannot be said as true for many of his European counterparts. If you feel that there is any exaggeration in my words, check out this and this. These videos showcase some of his goals scored for his country and club.

He was one of the prime reasons behind me becoming a big fan of AC Milan. The team of 2005-06 which reached the finals of Champions League was a dream team. A diamond shaped mid field with players like Pirlo, Gattuso , Seedorf and the dangerous Kaka upfront, right behind strikers like Shevchenko (at his peak), Inzaghi, Gilardino and Crespo (on loan from Chelsea). Backed by goon-like defenders namely Jaap Stam, Nesta, Cafu and Maldini. Even goalkeeper Dida was far more reliable in those days. It was a dream team and they were on the way to win the Champions League until the 7 minutes of madness ensured that they ended up as runners up. This final match against Liverpool will go down in history as one of the greatest games of all time.

Since past 2 years, Real Madrid has been trying to prise Kaka away from AC Milan, something which they have been doing with many talented players from other teams around the world. Given AC Milan's current poor form and other crisis ( Italian match fixing scandal), they might succeed next season. However, i do hope Kaka stays at Milan. Without him in the midfield, Milan won't ever be the same. Forza Milan, Forza Kaka!

And if he chooses to move from Milan, i hope it's to Arsenal, my other favourite team.However unlikely that may seem, the free flowing game of Arsenal will better suit the player of the caliber of Kaka. And who better to have as a coach than Arsene Wenger, a striker up front than Henry and a fellow midfielder than Fabregas. And a fan like me.

Wherever he goes, one thing is for sure. There won't ever be any dearth of followers of his game. Like the Kopites would sing, You'll never walk alone.


Anonymous said...

its good analysis on Kaka .......Amit

Ravi said...

No doubt, Kaka is a brilliant footballer with all the skills that you associate with Brazilians minus the showmanship.He seems to always have enough space to create moves and that extra second for those booming shots.
Even within the Brazil team,he still has his share of limelight inspite of sharing the field with greats like Ronaldo and Ronaldinho and that is an achievement in itself.
The bad days if not the worst are almost over for AC Milan with them close to a Champions League place next year.So i hope this group sticks around to see them overcome the heart-break they had to go through.
If not then, each time the song "You'll never walk alone." is sung, I would definitely love to see Kaka standing on the field in those Reds minus the black stripes.

P.S. how can you you miss Gerrard from that list?? X-( :P

Binesh said...

I named the two i admired the most..honestly i see Gerrad more as a central midfielder than an out n out attacking one..yes, he does volley well..but then so do Seedorf, Ballack, Aimar, Lampard and even Rosicky these days.

Ravi said...

Me thinks, in any scenario , be it controlling the midfield or attacking the opponent goal, there won't be a "more complete" player in midfield (pardon the exaggeration) than Steven Gerrard currently.With due respects to Rosicky, Seedorf & Lampard,comparing him with them is a bit of an injustice I feel.

Binesh said...

No one "More complete" than Gerrard? Now thats injustice to many others including Kaka, Pirlo, Riquelme, Deco ( all excellent in both passing n holding the ball) and specialist holding midfielders like Viera, Makelele and lastly, the most impressive Essien. This guy can play anywhere in the field ( these days being employed as center back by Mourinho). If you doubt his goal scoring abilities, go thru some of his goals on the web.
Anyways, i never meant to say Gerrard is not as good as those listed. What i meant is that when it comes to long shots or volleying there are others too but i mentioned two whom i admired most.BTW, u forgot to add another Reds name, Xabi Alonso..already he has scored 2 or 3 goals from behind the half line.Another very good midfielder.

Ravi said...

I would have added even Ballack to that list if today was the day WC ended.But at Stanford Bridge,he seems wasted.Even C.Ronaldo has been impressive.(maybe thats an understatement :)).About Essien,it cannot be denied what you mentioned. He seems to excel everywhere.


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