Pellegrini coy after film star Kaka loses plot on the pitch

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The Independent Online

"Where is Kaka?" the Real Madrid fans used to sing every time previous president Ramon Calderon unveiled a new B-list signing having promised supporters he would get them the Milan midfielder if they elected him as president.

Now the Brazilian is at the club, and still the Madrid supporters wonder: "Where is Kaka?" The strange case of Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite is almost overshadowing Real Madrid's run of nine consecutive league matches in which they have scored three goals or more in each game.

The £56m signing is, according to the club, currently injured with a persistent groin complaint but that did not stop him filming an advert this week at Madrid's university rugby ground.

The man who has not trained properly since Real Madrid were bounced out of the Champions League could be seen running and jumping freely in the publicity spot as his team-mates prepared for their doubleheader of Madrid derby matches – having beaten Getafe 4-2 they play Atletico Madrid tomorrow.

"I have an opinion on the matter but I prefer to keep it to myself," said coach Manuel Pellegrini when asked why Kaka was fit for filming but not for football. Pellegrini took a disappointing Kaka off in that Champions League defeat to Lyons and the Brazilian was visibly angered by the decision.

He was booed and whistled as he left the pitch to be replaced by Raul and an advisor to Kaka, Diogo Kotscho, openly criticised coach Pellegrini on the social networking site Twitter, calling him, "a coward of a coach who always picks on a star player to deflect criticism from himself."

Minus Kaka, Madrid are on their way to breaking their all-time scoring record of 107 goals for one season which they achieved under John Toshack in 1990. Cristiano Ronaldo scored with two more missiles in midweek – one from open play and one from a free-kick. He now has 17 and strike partner Gonzalo Higuain has 22.

With 78 goals scored and 10 games left, Madrid need to keep up the three-per-match ratio of their last nine games. Rafael van der Vaart, who cost £47m less than Kaka and has been in fine form this season, should again start tomorrow as Real look to extend a run of 11 years without losing to their neighbours Atletico Madrid. Barcelona face Mallorca tonight ahead of their Champions League first leg against Arsenal. Mallorca have won all but one of their home games this season and will test the champions, who could welcome back midfielder Xavi from injury.

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