Kaka joins Real Madrid on six-year contract
Real Madrid have confirmed the signing of Brazilian international Kaka on a six-year contract.
The deal with AC Milan is expected to set a new world record transfer fee and could pave the way for a new 'Galáctico' era at the Santiago Bernabéu under recently re-elected president Florentino Perez.
Reports suggest that the transfer fee is around 68m euros ($94.05m or £58.9m), thereby smashing the previous world record of £47m set by Real in 2001 when they bought Zinedine Zidane from Juventus.
At a press conference in Recife, where the 27-year-old playmaker is currently on international duty ahead of Brazil's World Cup qualifier against Paraguay on Wednesday, Kaka revealed he rejected the move to England as he did not want to leave Milan mid-season.
"I can officially say I'm a Real Madrid player. My professional link with AC Milan finishes now, but my sentimental link will never end,'' he said.
"Real Madrid intend to build a great team, with historic players such as Raul and Casillas. We will make history again, both in Spain and Europe. I guess the sport project is very good.
"Manchester City and Real Madrid are two different clubs with different situations. At that time (January), it was mid-season, I had a strong emotional impact due to the Italian fans requesting me to stay, and I decided to stay.
"Now another chance came up and AC Milan is in a big crisis (financially). For me, the sporting project (at Madrid) is interesting and will be an important boost to continue my career in the highest level."
AC Milan gave Kaka a glowing tribute on their website.
''From next season, Kaka will play at Real Madrid,'' read the statement. ''AC Milan [thank] the man and the great champion Kaka for his decisive contribution to the many victories achieved in the six years of his commitment.
''The lost technique, while serious, can be remedied. It will be very difficult to fill the void that will be left by Kaka, a shining example of professionalism, commitment and professionalism.
''AC Milan, (according to) the wishes of the managers, players and supporters of the Rossoneri, offer him the most cordial and affectionate wishes for the continuation of his sporting career.''
Madrid also confirmed the deal on their website, in a statement which read: ''Kaka is a player of Real Madrid after an agreement with AC Milan. The Brazilian footballer has now successfully passed all medical tests. Kaka has signed a contract for the next six seasons with Real Madrid.''
Kaka could now become the first of a new wave of 'Galáctico' signings, with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, David Villa and Franck Ribery all linked to the Spanish giants since Perez's unopposed re-election as the club's president last week.
In Perez's previous stint with the club, he oversaw the acquisitions of global stars of Ronaldo (£23.2m), David Beckham (£24.5m), Luis Figo (£37m), as well as Zidane.
Kaka signed for hometown club Sao Paolo at the age of 15 and overcame a career-threatening spinal injury to help his team win the Torneio Rio-Sao Paulo title in 2001, his debut season.
He made a brief substitute's appearance in Brazil's successful World Cup campaign in 2002 before clinching an 8.5m euros transfer to AC Milan a year later.
The Scudetto was secured in his first campaign at the San Siro, where he also won the Champions League in 2007. In the same year Kaka was awarded the Ballon d'Or, as European Footballer of the Year, and was named FIFA's World Player of the Year.
He had the opportunity to join Manchester City in January this year in a deal reported to be worth £100m, but opted to stay in Italy.
However, with Perez's arrival bringing the promise of a new era of dominance for Madrid, and former manager and mentor Carlo Ancelotti having himself departed for Chelsea, Kaka has opted to seek a fresh challenge in Spain.