Kaka expecting tight game when MLS All-Star side meet Real Madrid
Orlando City playmaker Kaka says his MLS All-Star side can face Champions League holders Real Madrid as "equals" when they meet in Chicago on Aug. 2.
Kaka is to line up alongside Chicago Fire midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, reigning Major League Soccer MVP David Villa of New York City FC, Michael Bradley of Toronto FC and Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard in the showpiece game against Zinedine Zidane's men at Soldier Field.
Zidane's side are expected to be almost at full strength for the encounter, which comes after their International Champions Cup meetings with Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona, with players including Gareth Bale, Sergio Ramos, Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos set to feature.
Speaking to U.S. Spanish-language newspaper Hoy, former Madrid midfielder Kaka said he did not think the All-Star side drawn from around MLS would have trouble gelling together, and predicted they would give Madrid a good contest.
"We do not know how the game will go," Kaka said. "But we have the players to take on Real Madrid as equals. We have a great team. The truth is it will be a very good and attractive game as our team have great players. Although we do not play together [with clubs], I don't believe it will be difficult to understand each other."
Kaka, 35, scored 29 goals in 130 games as a Madrid player between 2009 and 2013, although injuries contributed to the former Brazil international not having the impact expected when he moved from AC Milan for a fee of €65 million.
"I have good memories of Real Madrid," he said. "Professionally it was a difficult period, but my experience there was very good in all senses as I grew a lot, learned many things, and lived with great champions.
"They were four years where we won La Liga, Copa del Rey, the Spanish Supercopa, and I scored goals. Although I expected more, my time at Real Madrid was very good. To be able to say I played four seasons there is a great pleasure."
Kaka said that coming up against old teammates including Ramos, Benzema, Marcelo, Luka Modric and Raphael Varane will make it an emotional occasion.
"To take on Madrid is a very good experience," he said. "When I was there I played once against Milan, and now with the All-Stars team I will play against Real Madrid. It is something very emotional. To take on staff at the club and ex-teammates of Real Madrid will be a very different experience for me."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan