Kaka shows flashes of old magic to push himself into World Cup consideration

The midfield playmaker is back at AC Milan after a difficult spell at Real Madrid

He may not quite have the explosive acceleration of old, yet Kaka showed against Atletico Madrid that the old magic is still there and he could play a role for Brazil at the World Cup if selected.

The former World Player of the Year's performance on Wednesday suggested that Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who has not picked Kaka for a year, could give him a place in the squad, even if he is not a regular starter.

When Kaka returned to AC Milan in August after four unhappy years at Real Madrid, it was seen as something of a gamble by Milan and an attempt to win back fans who have seen a succession of big names leave the club in the last two years.

A thigh sprain in his very first match added to the feeling that the 31-year-old, plagued by a variety of nagging injuries during his time at Real Madrid, would spend most of his time in Milan's already crowded treatment room.

Fortunately, it has not worked out that way at all.

Despite being thrown into a team in transition and a club in disarray, Kaka has scored six goals and produced five assists in all competitions for Milan, who are Italy's only survivors in the Champions League.

If it were not for Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Thibault Courtois's fingertips, television stations worldwide would have spent Thursday replaying a goal every bit as stunning as Zlatan Ibrahimovic's effort against Bayer Leverkusen.

In the 15th minute, Kaka spun onto Adel Taarabt's pass in the corner of the penalty area and curled a left-foot shot towards the top corner which Courtouis tipped onto the bar.

VINTAGE MOMENTS

Playing just behind striker Mario Balotelli, Kaka always looked capable of unlocking an uncompromising Atletico defence and was close again with another fine effort when he curled the ball onto the roof of the net from a difficult angle.

There was another vintage moment on the hour when he collected a pass around 30 metres from goal, drifted effortlessly between two defenders and toe-poked the ball just wide from outside the penalty area.

So far, it has not been enough to impress Scolari, who has not selected him since the friendlies against Italy and Russia in March last year.

Somewhat strangely, Scolari suggested that Kaka had not done enough defensive work against the Russians.

"Kaka's performance was what we expected, but the most important that I wanted him to do was to come back and mark the Russian number eight, who was dictating the rhythm of the game," Scolari said after the game.

Brazil seemed to have little need for Kaka when they won the Confederations Cup in June but since then, things have not gone so well for Scolari who has seen a number of attacking players suffer injury problems.

Neither the player nor Brazil have ruled out a last-minute recall, even though he was again overlooked for next month's friendly against South Africa.

"I'm doing my utmost to make sure I don't miss this event," Kaka said on Monday. "We'll see if I'm on the list in May."

"We consider all players, some more than others," Scolari told reporters in Brazil on Wednesday, adding that he would not be pressured. "Everyone lobbies for one player or the other."

But with Brazil likely to face massed defences in most games, having Kaka around on the bench could prove an invaluable option for Scolari, both for his experience, moment of inspiration and ability to carve out chances in the tightest of corners.

Reuters

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable