In the latest instalment of the Flashback series, we take a look at how AC Milan signed Kaka for a seven-figure fee, before he went on to become a club great in light of Lucas Paqueta’s struggles.
AC Milan signed Kaka from Sao Paulo for a total fee of £7.65m in 2003, as per Transfermarkt and while inflation means that would have been more 16 years ago, there is no arguing this was an absolute bargain.
There are similarities between him and Lucas Pacqueta, with the pair both being Brazilian attacking midfielders who moved straight from their homeland to Milan, with Kaka having been asked to speak about the 22-year-old to Sky Sport, via Milan News in the past.
However, Pacqueta has been criticised by his manager, Marco Giampaolo, for not being disciplined enough, which has seen him left out at times, as reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, via MilanNews, while he only played 26 minutes against Inter, as per WhoScored.
This does pose the question about whether Kaka could have faced a similar fate under Giampaolo; it is definitely for the best that he didn’t, as for starters, in his first season at Milan, Kaka scored in 3-1 and 3-2 wins against the club’s bitter rivals.
In total, Kaka made a total of 307 appearances for the club over 10 seasons, scoring 104 goals and assisting 68 times, an incredible return for a player who was playing in attacking midfield.
He won a plethora of trophies as both an individual and part of a team during this period, including the Ballon D’Or, the Champions League and a Serie A – it should be noted that he was also the top scorer in the Champions League campaign Milan won.
As impressive as they are, the number of trophies and goals he got during his time in Italy is not enough to encapsulate how brilliant he was during that spell on their own.
For example, during the Champions League-winning season, Kaka scored three goals and got an assist in a 5-3 aggregate semi-final win against Manchester United, which is, of course, impressive, but you can only marvel at this in the way it deserves when seeing him ease Darren Fletcher off the ball, before making Gabriel Heinze and Patrice Evra collide before slotting the ball away.
His legacy may have been tainted slightly by his underwhelming time at Real Madrid – that still brought 120 appearances, 29 goals and 39 assists – but there is no taking away from the fact that he was one of the best players Milan have had in recent times. Despite some of the promise Paqueta has shown during his first few months as an AC Milan player, his struggles of late only serve to remind us about just how good the signing of Kaka was all those years ago.
Milan fans, where does Kaka rank among your club’s best players? Join the discussion by commenting below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!