LA Galaxy have made no secret of their wish to fill the void left by David Beckham with Kaka, the Brazilian attacking midfielder who, in 2007, was accepted to be the world’s finest footballer. Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Tim Leiweke- president of Anschultz Entertainment Group and current owner of the LA Galaxy- spoke of the the interest in bringing Kaka to Los Angeles: “We’re well aware of Kaka’s interest in MLS, and we in turn have made it very clear to him that he’s aware of our interest in him. We have a great relationship with Real Madrid, and just as we worked through a player (to sign Beckham) with them six years ago, I’m absolutely convinced we could find the right deal this time too.”
Kaka is a World Cup and Champion League winner, with Brazil and Milan respectively, and won the 2007 Ballon D’Or to officially cement his spot as the world’s best at that time. He moved to Real Madrid in 2009 for $90 million and remains the third most expensive soccer player of all time, after Zinedine Zidane of France and Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal (all three transfers were made by Real Madrid).
The move to the Spanish capital has not worked out for Kaka due to injuries and intense competition for starting spots. He is seemingly set on a departure, possibly in January and while he has reportedly expressed an interest in a move to the MLS in the past, including an admission earlier this week that he will consider an offer from the MLS franchise, it remains an unlikely eventuality for one key reason- the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
There appears to be no resistance to the deal from Real Madrid, with club president Florentino Perez happy to let the Brazilian go in order to open up an extra $10 million per year to fund an improved contract for Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
The suggestion that he might make a move to the MLS, while still playing for the Brazilian national team, has been met with almost universal scorn in his homeland as many critics see the MLS to be below the level required of a Brazilian international star. Along with this are the rumors that Kaka’s wife has dealt the player an ultimatum- if they move away from Madrid it is to be back to Brazil.
A move back to Brazil, most likely to Corinthians, would offer the 2007 World Player of The Year an opportunity to stake a claim to play in the 2014 World Cup, in Brazil. Kaka has recently returned to the Brazilian national team following a four-year spell out of the international frame. The need to hang on to that spot may supersede all other concerns or temptations.
A move to the EPL or other top class European league, such as Serie A, would offer Kaka a chance to prove himself before the summer of 2014. A move to the MLS, however, would make dreams of competing for the World Cup in his homeland a distinctly distant prospect. This issue is most likely to work against LA galaxy as they work to convince the Brazilian playmaker to swap the blue and white of Madrid for the blue and white of LA.
The dream of lifting another World Cup, in his homeland, might prove too much to ignore for a player who spent so long wondering if he would ever don the yellow shirt of the Seleção again. Kaka may not make 2014 as a Brazilian international; he could find his career further dogged by injuries and misfortune. A move to LA may allow him to find a new solace and joy in his soccer as he escapes the glare of Europe and its associated pressures. He may also make a substantial fortune to be the best player in the league while becoming the darling of the Spanish speaking population of LA and beyond- a position that will lead to almost limitless wealth in endorsements.
The move to the MLS would be, in many ways, the easier choice. The avenue less fraught with potential failures. He will surely worry, however, that such a move will rob him of hopes of one last, crowning glory. There is no guarantee of a spot in the squad for 2014. And, any hopes of selection will require 18 months of injury free appearances that prove he still holds some of the magic of his years in Milan.
It is not an easy task, and many will doubt if it is possible. However, for a man who wears his religious devotion on his sleeve, it would be a strange time to lose faith in realizing his biggest dream.
The MLS and LA Galaxy could be left waiting.