Sunday, April 6, 2008

New Kaka?

When Brazil came to town just prior to their penta-stic win in Korea/Japan in 2002, I wrote a piece on Kaka. No other papers carried any interview with the soon-to-be the world's Numero Uno.

Now Arsenal have been accused of trying to poach a young Frenchman by the name of Clement Grenier (see pic).

If he turns out to be half as good as Kaka, then its Viva Les Bleus lah!

Just to recap, the story that appeared on the backpage of the Malay Mail on May 23, 2002

IN New Zealand, Kaka is a bush parrot. For Brazilians and fans of Sao
Paulo, however, Kaka is a demi-god.
The midfielder, whose real name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos, is a
rising star in Brazil.
His inclusion in Luiz Felipe Scolari's 23-man team bound for the World
Cup in South Korea/Japan, has caused a buzz of excitement among the media
As the baby of the team, many see Kaka as the team's mascot just like
Ronaldo was when Brazil last won the World Cup in 1994.
A tall attacking midfielder with a nose for goals, Kaka's style is
comparable with that of former Sao Paulo and Paris St Germain idol Rai,
Socrates' younger brother who began the 1994 campaign as Brazil's skipper.
The general feeling among the Brazilian journalists currently
chronicling the team's last leg of preparations in Kuala Lumpur is that
Kaka, who turned 20 last week, is potentially the next big star.
"Kaka was included in the team following the bizarre incident where
Djalminha head-butted Javier Irureta, his coach at Deportivo La Coruna,"
said Rio de Janeiro-based journalist, Silvio Barsetti.
"Otherwise, it would have been a close tussle between Kaka and
"Many feel that Kaka is set to become the next star in the future."
Barsetti added that like Djalminha, Kaka has the same strength on the
ball and a similar gift for collective play but the younger player is also
blessed with more pace.
Scolari has insisted that Kaka was not only being taken along for
experience, but he might also be having a role to play in the World Cup.
The youngster is still adjusting to life among the multimillionaires.
In Kuala Lumpur, for instance, Kaka, who was a member of the World
Under-17 Championship winning side, makes it a point to call home
"To speak over the telephone my family in Brazil is a relief for me. I
do feel homesick," said Kaka through an interpreter.
"Listening to the voices of your loved ones tends to minimise the
negative effect of the distance. They give me advice and ask me to take
everything in stride."
In Sao Paulo, Kaka is already the hub of the team's creativity. He
scored two goals in the final to help Sao Paulo win the Copa Rio-Sao Paulo
last year.
Kaka was also at the World Youth Cup in 2001 where Brazil were knocked
out of the quarterfinals.
Scolari was persuaded to call him up for duty earlier this year.
Kaka said: "For me, it is all a new experience. The hard training, the
time between meals and rest, these are all new things to me.
His point of reference is, naturally, Ronaldo.
"He did not play in 1994. But I intend to play in Korea/Japan."
His mind, though, could be focused on the encounter with Malaysia.
Perhaps Kaka will get a chance to stake his claim this Saturday.

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