At this point of his career, Kaka couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to show that the greatness that was once so closely associated with him hasn’t gone away for good, in an excellent comeback performance, combining the skills, sacrifice and vision that have made him one of the best players in the world at AC Milan during the previous decade.
It comes down to two things in the 1-1 draw with Barcelona – his wonderful assist to Robinho in a Brazilian co-op to score the opening goal, and the incredible hard work from him on defense and overall in 70 minutes against Barcelona, a team that makes you run and chase like no one else can, before he was completely exhausted.
After making a move that pretty much saves his career from oblivion at Real Madrid, Kaka missed a month of football with an injury, which isn’t surprising considering how little he has played for Jose Mourinho these last three years. His arrival doesn’t make AC Milan contenders in any sort of way, but it does provide some link between the great team of the previous decade and the questionable present and unforeseen future.
It also provides the Brazilian with a platform to make a case for the 2014 World Cup. Scolari knows, more or less, how his lineup is going to look, although he’s still hoping some striker comes out of nowhere to rescue him from the mess he has up front. However, a good season for Kaka in Italy might mean that he has some sort of place, even as a leader and positive dressing room influence, with the Selecao in the 2014 World Cup.
After that outside leg assist to Robinho, we didn’t see much more from Kaka in terms of skills. He had one neat dribble on the right wing before turning the ball over with a bad pass, and had one more shot at goal that didn’t really trouble Victor Valdes in the second half, before being taken off for good.
On his first start since his injury, there wasn’t much more to ask of him. Staying healthy and making two-three key contributions in every match is enough for player trying to show that he still might be as great as people remember him for, but will settle for a lot less from someone who clearly is past his prime, and the few moments of brilliance he can still provide are more than enough.