Four years ago, Kaka made headline as the world’s most expensive player when he transferred to Real Madrid for almost €70 million.
Milan have undergone a huge transformation since Kaka’s departure. In fact, of the current squad, only goalkeeper Christian Abbiati and defender Daniele Bonera remain since Kaka left in 2009. Not only is the Brazilian going to work with a totally different squad than he remembers, he is also not working with his mentor Carlo Ancelotti – the coach who made him a superstar and likely the man responsible for his reported free transfer to Milan – but with Max Allegri, a coach whose dubious tactics and squad selections often draws criticisms from fans.
Set that aside, Kaka is the player that Allegri needs. With Kevin Prince Boateng gone, Allegri needs someone with creativity in the front and Kaka can provide that.
Fans cannot expect him to be the same player who ran tirelessly and scored magnificent goals almost every time to save Milan from the embarrassment of losing. But, as the old saying goes, ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’. Even as a substitute most of the time at Real Madrid, Kaka could still deliver when Jose Mourinho sent him on pitch. Scoring 29 goals and providing 32 assists in 120 official Real matches, considering that he was a substitute most of the time, is not a bad figure at all.
Milan have not had a world-class attacking midfielder since Kaka left. Boateng shone when Ibrahimovic was in the team and Robinho has never been a consistent player. Montolivo is expected to take up the playmaker role, but he is misplaced in the defensive midfield position and can’t help much in the final third. Montolivo is more suited for a central midfielder role and with Kaka in the squad, the Italian national can play more backward - just like he does for his national team.
Allegri could opt for a more traditional 4-1-2-1-2 formation, with Stephen El Shaarawy partnering Mario Balotelli up front. Kaka will play behind them while Montolivo will be joined by summer signing Andrea Poli and a defensive midfielder - either Sulley Muntari or Nigel de Jong. With this, the team balance could be more sustained, as Montolivo and Poli given much more freedom to control the pace of the game.
Balotelli will also benefit from Kaka’s precise short passing near the box. Currently, 'Super Mario' takes up the responsibility of creating chances, which wastes his ability to draw defenders near the box. Now that Kaka can fill that role, and with El Shaarawy crossing in from the left flank, Balotelli’s ability can be fully utilised.
It will be unrealistic for fans to think Kaka can produce the same magic that won them the 2007 UEFA Champions League, but all will definitely be happy to see him play more regularly. A player of his class does not deserve to sit on the bench.
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