Once Paris Saint Germain confirmed Laurent Blanc as their new manager, Real Madrid also announced the signing of Carlo Ancelotti as Jose Mourinho’s replacement at the Santiago Bernabeu. Real’s new boss will be the second Italian man in charge in the history of the club, after Fabio Capello. Carletto will coincide in Madrid with Kaka, who was the figurehead of the when they both were at AC Milan.
Ancelotti got the best out of the Brazilian, who became one of the top players in the world under the Italian’s charge. However, at the beginning the manager was doubtful about the quality of Kaka. In fact, he thought the Brazilian looked more as an Erasmus student than a football player.
They told me about a boy in Brazil, apparently very good, but who I did not know: Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite. For his name he seemed more like a preacher to me, and I was not that mistaken. He carried the word of football and faith: listen to him and you’ll be happy.
The club was unsure whether to bring him directly to Milanello or allow him to stay for another six month at Sao Paolo. After assessing our options we decided to speed up the process and bring him to the club as soon as possible so that he could begin training with us. And for me to meet him.
From my point of view, it was a blind signing, full of good words and hopes, but I needed facts. Kaka arrived to Malpensa and I put my head in my hands: his glasses, his comb-over hair style, his nice kid face… he was just missing a lunch box and a book. We had signed an Erasmus student. Welcome to Erasmus projects, it wouldn’t be bad if you also can play football.
That is how Ancelotti described in his autobiography, Preferisco la Coppa, his first impression of Kaka. However, when he saw the Brazilian with the ball in his feet, he rapidly changed his opinion:
With the ball, he was a monster. I stopped talking, just because I couldn’t find the words. There were no words to describe what I was seeing. That Jehova’s Witness was actually a man who talked to God, as we found out later. In one of our conversations, I think we even talked about football.
In one his first sessions on the training field he faced Gattuso, who put in a terrific tackle on him. But Kaka did not miss the ball, and Rino finished the action by saying “fuck off”. From his point of view, that meant promoting his new team mate. Still with the ball in his foot he shot on target from 30 meters with Nesta being unable to stop him. We took that kid’s glasses off and dressed him in a football kit, and he turned out to be what we didn’t expected: a genius.
The question is now: Will he be able to bring the best out of Kaka again and allow him to find the form he once displayed in Milan?