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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 10 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Feb 29, 2008

Ancelotti: Milan not forced into new Kaka deal

MILAN, February 29 (Serie A) - AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has insisted 'outside pressures' did not force the club to sign Kaka to an early contract extension. The Brazilian added two more years to his current deal on Thursday night which will keep him at the San Siro until the summer of 2013. Both Chelsea and Real Madrid have been linked to the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year, but Ancelotti claimed their interest was not a factor in the deal. He said: 'I don't think external factors have accelerated Kaka's contract extension. Kaka's new deal is a beautiful thing for him and for Milan.' The 25-year-old Kaka had never indicated that he wanted to leave the current European champions, but had spoken of his admiration for Real Madrid, while the Spanish club made no secret of their desire to lure him to the Bernabeu. 'I hope that this new deal will mean that I no longer have to answer questions about Kaka being linked to Real Madrid this summer as I have had to do in the past,' AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said. 'I am extremely delighted because I am convinced he is the best player in the world.' Now that Kaka has cemented his future with the Rossoneri, Ancelotti predicts his stature at the club and in Europe will grow - Kaka has often stated his wish to become a future captain of Milan. 'Kaka will become more and more the symbol of this team,' Ancelotti said. 'Kaka has a great image on the pitch, he shows a great attitude and great quality.' In the meantime, Ancelotti is optimistic Kaka will recover for Tuesday's Champions League last 16 return leg against Arsenal at the San Siro. The South American star is fighting against the clock to recover from a left-knee injury that has kept him out of the Rossoneri's previous two league games. 'Kaka will not play on Saturday against Lazio but I believe he will recover for Tuesday's game,' Ancelotti said. 'He is training with the hope of being ready for Tuesday's game and I think he will make it.' Kaka scored a competition-leading 10 goals during Milan's successful Champions League campaign last season. Milan go into Tuesday's encounter with all to play for having held Arsenal to a goalless draw in the opening leg in London earlier this month.