Kaka back in the picture
Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho says Kaka put himself in the first-team picture with a three-goal performance in their side's 8-0 hammering of Millonarios Bogota in Wednesday night's XXXIV Trofeo Santiago Bernabeu game.
Kaka, linked this week with a winter window move to Turkish side Galatasaray, was making his first home appearance since missing a penalty in the shootout as Madrid crashed out of last year's Champions League to Bayern Munich.
He took full advantage against the disappointing Colombians with a hat-trick and assist, as well as a spell wearing captain's armband, as Madrid eased to victory. The other goalscorers were Jose Callejon (2), Alvaro Morata (2) and Karim Benzema in a game that marked the 60th anniversary of legend Alfredo Di Stefano's transfer from Millonarios to Real.
Mourinho was not getting carried away afterwards but said the former AC Milan man, 30, was one of a number of players who had done enough to be kept in mind for upcoming competitive matches.
"Kaka played well, as did the whole team as we maintained a solid structure," he said. "We worked well. When players show motivation and ambition the coach has more confidence and can play them in official games. Kaka, and the others, did enough to put their names in my head."
With most of Madrid's senior players given the evening off, Portuguese centre-half Ricardo Carvalho and second-choice goalkeeper Adan got rare minutes, while Mourinho handed a first-team opportunity to youth-team defenders Derik, 19, and Mario Hermoso, 17, as well as forward Alvaro Morata, 19, and midfielder Nacho, 22, who are already members of the senior squad but rarely feature in competitive games.
"The participation of players from Castilla is nothing new," Mourinho said. "This will help them improve. Morata and Nacho are members of the first-team squad and others are coming up behind."
Morata, who won the golden boot as Spain won the 2011 Under-19 European Championships, said he was delighted with his two goals and hoped for more first-team chances in future.
"Each time I play with these team-mates I feel better," he said. "Everyone is helping me. When you are at the best team in the world, with the best players, you must give everything in every game, as you do not know when you will have the next opportunity. Now I need to keep working."