1 hour ago
It seems difficult for the modern football fan to comprehend, but there was a time when the game was not dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and their seemingly eternal, intergalactic battle for supremacy
Kaka displaced Manuel Rui Costa from the team, forged a tremendous understanding with key strikers Andriy Shevchenko and Pippo Inzaghi, and became the creative hub of the Rossoneri
Soon after joining the Serie A side, though, he became a fixture in the Milan outfit of Carlo Ancelotti and helped the team to the 2003/04 title in his maiden campaign. Ten goals in that initial season showcased what was to come, not just in finding the back of the net but for his overall productivity in the final third
Ronaldinho had frightening, fantastical, flamboyant ability. There's no doubt there came a spell where he was the best in the world, combining pure joy of his style with a devastating end product.
But Kaka, in his own way, was every bit as relentless, every bit as productive, every bit as majestic.
His gait, particularly when in possession, was mesmeric. Reasonably unusual in stature for a playmaking midfielder at a little over six feet tall, Kaka could still turn and accelerate past a defender in the same way the smaller, low-centre-of-gravity No. 10s would manage—but that same elegant, long-legged stride made him unstoppable on the run
Kaka had real power and acceleration in possession, simultaneously appearing to glide and surge to leave defenders for dead in one-on-one situations; while he rarely showboated with insane stepovers or made opponents look foolish with clever footwork, he was difficult to dispossess
At the end of Kaka's solo dribbles, there came real genius in execution. A perfectly weighted pass between defenders is tough enough to do at the best of times, but to do so on the run, after a 30-metre sprint, often off-balance due to being challenged, is an act of creativity reserved only for the best
There isn't another like Kaka, and the genius he brought to the game in the mid-to-late 2000s shouldn't be easily overlooked or forgotten
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