MADRID - Real Madrid sit comfortably on
top of Champions League Group D following Tuesday's 3-0 win at
home to Ajax Amsterdam but the resurgence of Kaka is perhaps an
even more pleasing development for coach Jose Mourinho.
The 29-year-old Brazil playmaker has mostly been a shadow of
the man who won the World Player of the Year award in 2007 since
he joined from AC Milan at the end of the 2008/09 season for a
fee of almost 70 million euros.
He has suffered a series of injuries and needed knee surgery
after last year's World Cup but his match-winning performance
against Ajax, when he scored the second goal and had a hand in
the other two, suggested he is getting back to his best.
The boyish grin has returned to his face and he was given a
rousing ovation by the Bernabeu faithful when he was substituted
with around 15 minutes left as Real made it two wins from two in
Europe's elite club competition this season.
"He has had a really bad time," Mourinho's assistant Aitor
Karanka, standing in for his suspended boss, told a news
"For those of us who have kept faith in him, seeing the look
of happiness he has had on his face for a while now is very
satisfying," he added.
"A great player like him, and considering what he has been
through, deserves to be happy again."
Before Tuesday, Kaka had shown glimpses of his old self in
pre-season games and in the first few rounds of La Liga and he
scored the fifth goal in their 6-0 drubbing of Real Zaragoza on
the opening weekend of the Spanish domestic season.
Up to now, Mourinho has generally picked Germany playmaker
Mesut Ozil ahead of the Brazilian and there were unsourced
reports Kaka was set to leave Real in the close season for
around half what he cost the Spanish giants.
Real captain Iker Casillas said the team were thrilled that
he appeared to have turned a corner.
"We know what a class player and person he is and we have
faith in him," the Spain goalkeeper told reporters after the
"He is committed to himself, to his team mates and to the
team," he added.
"We want him to be what he was before but we know what the
press is like. If he has a less-brilliant match he'll be
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