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30 stats for Messi's 30th birthday

Barcelona
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By ESPN Staff

Kaka: We'll challenge Barca for silverware

Kaka is confident Real Madrid are building a squad capable of knocking Barcelona off their throne next season.

The Brazil superstar was unveiled on Tuesday night as Madrid's first recruit of what could be a busy summer following the return of Florentino Perez to the club presidency at the start of June.

Perez promised a "spectacular project" to get fallen giants Madrid back to top of the football tree both in Spain and Europe, and he has wasted no time trying to fulfil that pledge.

Aside from the signing of Kaka for a reported price tag of around £56million, Madrid have also finalised a deal with Manchester United that will see Cristiano Ronaldo move to Spain for a world-record £80m.

Valencia centre-back Raul Albiol has also been snapped up for a fee believed to be around £13million while the likes of Franck Ribery, David Villa and Xabi Alonso are regularly being linked with Madrid in the media.

Even if Madrid do not bring in any more players they already look set to have much more quality than last season, when they could only watch on in envy as arch rivals Barca claimed an unprecedented treble of Primera Division, Copa del Rey and Champions League.

Pep Guardiola's side are again likely to be the team to beat next season, but Kaka feels Madrid can give the Catalan outfit a run for their money.

When asked following his presentation if he thought Madrid could challenge Barca, Kaka said: "Yes. That's what Florentino Perez's sporting project is for, to beat Barcelona next season.

"Their three titles are deserved, but Real Madrid are going to be a major team next season, both in Europe and in Spain."

The 27-year-old former FIFA World Player of the Year admitted speaking to Perez about his plans for Madrid helped persuade him to make the move to the Bernabeu.

"When I spoke to the president he showed us his sporting project, and it influenced my decision a lot," explained Kaka, who had attracted the interest of other clubs, including wealthy English outfits Chelsea and Manchester City.

"He's a winner and everything he wants is with this in mind.

"I asked him if he could do everything that he said, and he has shown that he can. It's a great privilege to form part of great teams. I've been fortunate to play with great players, and I'm now going to continue doing the same."

Kaka knows it is not enough just to have a host of talented individuals at the club though, insisting hard work is what separates the haves from the have-nots.

"My experience in football has told me that talent alone is not enough," said Kaka, who will be aiming to take Madrid past the last-16 stage of the Champions League for the first time in six years next season.

"I've met players with a lot of talent who have not been successful, and others with less talent who have been champions.

"It's something else to have a team of players with talent who sacrifice themselves to achieve the same aim."

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