Kaka joins Madrid for £59m to help AC Milan
Real Madrid's newest signing Kaka has revealed he joined the Spanish club in order to help AC Milan overcome their financial difficulties.
The 27-year-old Brazilian is believed to have signed for around £59m ($94.05m), which beats the world record transfer fee of £46.7m ($75.3m) paid by Real to Juventus for Zinedine Zidane in 2001. Although, due to fluctuations in currency exchanges, Zidane still cost more in Euros, at €73m, than Kaka, at €68m.
Real sent medics to the Brazilian national team's training camp in Recife, where the playmaker is preparing for a World Cup qualifier against Paraguay, to conduct a medical and the completed transfer was confirmed by both Milan and Madrid late on Monday night.
Speaking at a press conference in Brazil, Kaka said: "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."
"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."
Kaka, who was also a target for Premier League club Chelsea, revealed that he turned down a £100m move to Manchester City in January because he did not want to leave Milan mid-season.
"Manchester City and Real Madrid are two different clubs with different situations. At that time, 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.
"I wanted to stay on at Milan, but the world (financial) crisis affected a lot of clubs, especially those like Milan which are businesses. So then, I spoke with the Milan directors and we reached the conclusion that the best thing for everybody would be to sell."
The 2007 World Player of the Year will have to wait to be unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu until the end of June, as he is due to travel to South Africa to compete the Confederations Cup with Brazil, but he is already looking forward to the new challenge of playing for Los Blancos.
Having spoken with new Real president Florentino Perez, Kaka revealed that the man who oversaw the club's galacticos era is attempting to construct a team to emulate that of Zidane, Luis Figo, Ronaldo and David Beckham that dazzled football during his first stint as club chief between 2000 and 2006.
The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Xabi Alonso, David Villa and Franck Ribery have all been linked with the Spanish club since Perez's unopposed election signalled the return of their vast spending.
Kaka said: "The president (Perez) is already making contact (with potential signings) and is putting together a competitive team, one which will try to once again become champions in Spain and Europe. That's why I chose Madrid."
The Brasilia-born star also admitted he had received plenty of advice on the move from former Real player and Perez signing Beckham, who spent a short spell at Milan on loan earlier this year. He also revealed that although the deal was only announced on Monday night, it had been in the pipeline for some time.
"I spoke to some friends, like Beckham, who has already played for Real. He said it's a fantastic place to play. I spoke to him this past week and he kept helping me, he said I made a positive choice for my career's growth," Kaka revealed.
"I wanted this move to be announced sooner. For me it's a relief that it has been announced now, although I have always been 100% focussed on the national side.
"I've been weighing up the offer from Real Madrid a lot. It's an important project for me to continue growing in my career. I'm not going to Real Madrid for money, as I had other offers. But I knew I would only leave Milan to play for Real Madrid.
"Only small details were missing, such as the medical exams I passed this morning. The deal was sealed long time ago".
He also said he hoped to put an end to Barcelona's dominance of Spanish and European football, after the Merengues' arch-rivals swept all before them this season en route to claiming Spain's first league, King's Cup and Champions League treble.
"This will be a tough season at Real Madrid, after all that Messi conquered with Barcelona," he said. "They're the big favourites and deservedly so. I hope Barcelona's hegemony will end in the coming years. Real Madrid will build a great team to win titles again, as it's the club's history."
Meanwhile, he revealed he fell uncomfortable taking on the number five jersey once worn by Zidane. Perez had admitted he would like to see the Brazilian playmaker take on the shirt, but Kaka said he would not feel comfortable doing so.
He said: "Wearing the number five would be a great responsibility. Zidane was a great player, both for Real Madrid and for France, and I wouldn't like to wear the same number as he did. We're going to wait a bit before deciding which one to use."
And finally he had words of gratitude to Milan for launching his career in Europe, while he was also elusive about whether he would end his career in Madrid.
"I will be 33 years old by the time the (Madrid) contract ends, with the World Cup in Brazil in 2014 still to come. Lots of things will happen," he said. "I'm not thinking today of ending my career at 33. I expect to write history there and sign a new contract, who knows, until 35. May be I'll retire then.
"I want to thank Milan, as they were the club who put me on the international scene. They gave me the opportunity to become a big name in Europe.
"I'm happy to leave Milan by the front door, with a lot of friends. It has been very emotional to see what the Milan fans have done for me."