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Milan to Madrid via Manchester

Tim Vickery | 06:17 UK time, Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Kaka's route from AC Milan to Real Madrid passed through Manchester.

The 27-year-old Brazilian had been top of Real's wish list for some time, but Milan kept saying he was not for sale. Then Manchester City came in with the mega bucks, and Milan were open for business.

Something had changed. Kaka and Milan had looked like a career-long relationship, but after the City bid the bond had loosened.

Not necessarily for sentimental reasons - Kaka was effuse with his gratitude for Milan in Monday night's press conference - but for commercial motives.

Kaka made a point of stressing how the global financial crisis had come out of the blue, with unforeseen repercussions for Milan.Former Madrid player David Beckham celebrates with former Milan team-mate, Kaka

Their willingness to listen to Manchester City's offer had brought Milan's weak financial position out into the open - and once he understood the situation Kaka came to the conclusion that the best course of action for him, and the best way to help Milan, was to accept the move to Real Madrid.

It was typical Kaka - diplomatic, intelligent, serene and methodical. He said that he had made up his mind some time ago. Even so, right up until the last few days he was still asking around for references on his new destination. He revealed that he had been talking about Real Madrid with now former team-mate David Beckham, who told him that playing for the club would be a great experience which would help his career grow still further.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, were congratulating themselves on making an old dream come true by having signed the man they judge as "the most complete player on the planet." Such an accolade has been won in the course of a hugely successful six-year spell with Milan.

Kaka turned up as a virtual unknown in 2003 - coach Carlo Ancelotti made little secret of the fact that he really didn't know anything about the new arrival. Both now leave the club at the same time, for different destinations, after forming an excellent partnership.

Ancelotti understood that Kaka is a player for the final 40 metres of the field, and played him further forward than he had often featured for Sao Paulo. And Kaka adapted with ease. It helped, as he said, that he actually wanted to be in Europe.

Unlike some of his compatriots, he had not crossed the Atlantic merely for financial reasons. He relished the chance to experience life and football in another culture. His powerful, direct, no-frills style of play also proved tailor-made for the European game.

In his press conference he talked of the motivating effect of moving to a new club where he has yet to win anything. A fascinating by-product of the move is the effect it might have on the motivation of one of the players he has just left behind, another former Fifa world player-of-the-year.

Ronaldinho has been left out of the Brazil squad. It reads like an attempt at 'tough love' from coach Dunga, who stressed that the player is still very much in his plans, but needs to get fit to get back in.

Some 10 months after waddling his way through the Olympics Ronaldinho is still miles away from the sharpness that underpinned his game in the glory days. Dunga said that spending so long on the bench at Milan has undermined Ronaldinho's motivation.

With Kaka now gone, a fit and focused Ronaldinho would be a first class replacement. Can he seize the opportunity? If so, then Kaka's move will not only help Milan's financial situation, but the Brazilian national team and the game of football as well.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Tim, what would you put the downturn of Ronaldinho down to? Did his ego get too big at Barcelona? Has he been spending too much time 'living the good life?' Also how do you rate Brazil's chances in the Confederations cup, are they going to take it seriously?

  • Comment number 2.

    It is definitely sad to see Ronaldinho completely lose his touch. When he was at his best for Barcelona and Brazil he was the most mesmerizing player to watch.

    He is currently 29 but I think he could eke out a few brilliant seasons.

  • Comment number 3.

    For what it's worth, had these comments come from any other player I'd scoff, but I think a lot of people have a lot of respect for Kaka and the way he goes about his business.

    I hope he does well and that Milan use the money wisely, get Ron fit, and start bringing through some of their excellent youngsters.

    Good blog Tim keep it up.


  • Comment number 4.

    He is a fantastic player and will be key if Madrid are to make a successful revival, even though it is an awful lot of money for one player, and it remains questionable whether even Kaka is worth such a price.

    But strategically Madrid have been very clever in making him their first signing. This now makes them a far more tempting and attractive proposition for the likes of Ronaldo, Villa, Ribery and co and it will give them significant additional leverage when bidding for players that other clubs are interested.

  • Comment number 5.

    Not sure that the move on it's own will help Kaka or Real Madrid. At Milan the team was built around him. The midfield was set up to allow him to win matches for them, but unless Madrid has a massive overhaul of players, I'm not sure they will be able to do the same. There seems to be a pattern of Brazilians players being amazing for a couple of years but not being able to sustain it, is there a reason for this?

  • Comment number 6.

    It just seems a shame that Milan had to sell their prize asset and not just a few squad players to amass £50m or so.

    Not sure what the future holds for Milan now, Leonardo is clearly an intelligent football man with an eye for talent and a good nature that i think players will warm too. However the squad is so old now that it would have been nice to see Kaka continue as the focal point of the team alongside Pirlo with youngsters like Pato and maybe Gourcuff, if he comes back.

    Tim do you think that Leonardo will appreciate Gourcuffs class? He could fill the role left behind now after a successful seasons experience with Bordeaux perhaps?

  • Comment number 7.


    Gourcuff has already signed for Bordeaux permanently.

    As an admirer of both Barcelona and Atletico (strangely enough), I'm never pleased to see such a brilliant player sign for Real but it will make for an even more exciting La Liga season hopefully.

  • Comment number 8.

    I Await Mark Lawrenson telling us all how many Hospitals could of been built with this Obscene amount of money and how this transfer is killing football !

  • Comment number 9.

    Just want to ask where are those who do not like the Premier League? That is Platini and Blatter about this deal and the amount of money involve. Furthermoer that is not all.

    When ManCity propose something about that amount,Platini shouted. Now that it is Real Madrid his mouth is shut.

    Those governing football in England have to be aggressive with these anti-EPL FOR for they do not like the EPL. There was no cry when Serie A and La Liga were dominating. Wake up.

  • Comment number 10.

    Interesting point relating Kaka's move and Ronaldinho...

    Ronaldinho can not only make it to the Milan Starting XI, but also make a comeback to the Brazil national team, seeing that Dunga is willing to accomodate him, if fit...Kaka has unknowingly thrown him a chance to resurrect his playing career, whether he grabs it or not remains to be seen...

  • Comment number 11.

    It's more about clubs with huge debts in England spending obscene amounts of money - debt ridden clubs pricing everyone else out of the market? Something wrong there.

    Man City dwarfing Milan (7 Champions League's, huge attendances) and Madrid's (9 Chmpions Leagues, even bigger attendances) financial power? Something wrong there.

  • Comment number 12.

    Hilary-Briss............There is nothing wrong with debt, nor the size of the debt, as long as the club in question can easily and comfortably service the debt, without putting itself at significant risk. Man City fall into this category, and I really don't see any financial analyst downgrading Man City's ability to make large scale investment just because they have not previously won the Champions League.

  • Comment number 13.

    If any player, were to choose the likes of Man City over the chance to star for the most successful club of all time, Real Madrid, you would have to ask some serious questions of that player. No offense to Man City, but they are not a big club, and having a bottomless pit of cash, doesn't make you one either.

  • Comment number 14.

    Regardless of this signing, I can still only see them playing second fiddle to Barcelona again. Barcelona are so much more complete as a team. The fact is that Real Madrid for all the stars in their team have not even reached the semis of the champions league in the past 5 years !!!

    Always have good players but as a team, they just dont seem to get it done. I would fancy barcelona to dominate again next year.

  • Comment number 15.

    It may sound selfish, but I really enjoy watching the big teams on the flat screen, so keep on bringing the best players to Real, some one will pay the bills. It will take a long time for Real to catch up with Barca, but it will be a different thing in the CL; the premier league times can expect more competition next year
    Cheers everybody

  • Comment number 16.

    Rapeti @ #12

    Where have you been for the last 18 months? Living in an underground bunker? The global financial crisis was caused, in the main, by companies (in this case banks (of various types investment etc etc)) running up massive debts and thinking they could service them. Suddenly the rug is pulled out from beneath the market (mostly caused by bad housing debt in the US sending smaller companies under and the wave continuing on).

    No one saw this coming (despite what that idiot on sky news tries to say) and the very same could happen with football (has actually happened in a few cases (leeds a while back, West ham, Portsmouth, Southampton to name but a few).

    This is what Platini has an issue with and to say that There is nothing wrong with debt, nor the size of the debt is very short sighted.

  • Comment number 17.

    @ #9

    when italian an dspanish clubs were dominating Platini wasnt in charge so he couldnt do much about it could he?
    secondly platini's biggest 'dislike' is foreign ownership and quick ownership. madrid are not such club, you can argue about how they have been helped by the madrid council or whatever, but its a club that generates a lot of money through its own means, and that is run by people who arent just going to leave when their icelandic bank collapse.
    whether you agree with this or not is for you to decide but at least research the facts and what platini is saying

  • Comment number 18.

    I love the way people assume that, because it's Real Madrid, the money hasn't come from debt. It wasn't all that many years ago that Real had to be bailed out by the corporation of Madrid otherwise they'd have gone bankrupt.

  • Comment number 19.

    Oh please! If he was that concerned about Milans finances, he would have left when City offered nearly £100m.

  • Comment number 20.


    It's been nearly two years now in my mind since we've seen the downturn of Ronaldinho. I, at first, was sure he'd get in shape and get back to being at least one of the top 5 in the world again but around Christmas time this year I gave up on him.

    I know he's one of the greatest players from the region you cover but do you think it's now maybe time to admit we've seen the end of Ronaldinho as we knew him? I know it's a very tough call but maybe this one's gotta come from the head rather than the heart...


  • Comment number 21.

    again you fail to see the difference in ownership between a club like Madrid or Man city/chelsea/porstmouth etc

    Based on your argument one could also suggest that 'i love the way many people assume because its madrid the money has to come from debt'. Im not in possesion of their finanical statements, but yet again i insist that madrid generates more money through its business arm than every other club in the world possibly bar 2 or 3, if that.

    And its the huge assets the club has, NOT the owners. For instance madrid also has professional teams in absketball, volleyball, etc. its a huge institution. Not a sheik's hobby.

  • Comment number 22.

    It was not just the foreign ownership though was it he was complaining about the prices being paid by premiership teams but yet he has said nothing of this, any time an premiership team does anything he comes out and says something himself or blatter but look at Madrid tapping of Ronaldo clearly a breach in the rules yet Blatter supports it and Platini has nothing to say.

  • Comment number 23.

    @ 22

    i find it hard to argue againts your first point, and im too surprised he ahsnt said anything yet, thoguh i will research french papers and see if theres anythign there.

    however your second point and the atpping up, listen Man U did it with berbatov, yet complained about madrid. spurs then complained about man U, but then went on and tapped someone else up and the whole controversy over signing taht kid from palace. so what goes around comes around and stuff...

  • Comment number 24.

    redsarmy.............Your point is incorrect and there is a world of difference from the banking crisis and a company prudently managing its balance sheet and cash flow.

    FYI.......the banking crisis was caused by banks lending irresponsibly (please note not borrowing irresponsibly)to thousands of people who could not make the loan repayments.

    In normal circumstances the banks would then borrow the money against their loans to the public back from the money markets. However once it was obvious that people would default on the loans, the money markets were no longer prepared to loan to the banks. Hence the liquidity crisis.

    As you say its been 18 months now, and therefore quite surprising you still don't understand what actually happened.

  • Comment number 25.

    BBR...........I may be wrong but I think Madrid's debt to equity ratio is just 27%. If that is the case, it does provide supporting evidence to your point.

  • Comment number 26.

    @ 25

    wouldnt surprise me if that was the case. The real problems was always in Italy, and well, the clubs suffered subsequently as a result

  • Comment number 27.

    About the Debt The Man U can afford to keep as much debt as long as they keep winning when that stops thats when it gets dangerous, if leads had kept winning would they be where they are? no. Chelsea at the moment are fine they have Abramovich, Arsenal have a sound finicial footing of the clubs Platini complains about Liverpool are the only ones that look in any trouble and even then a top 4 place and champs league should be enough to keep them going

  • Comment number 28.

    Personally I think that Adidas must have been a major player in this move.
    Like Beckham in recent years, it seems more convenient from a marketing point of view to move to a club who have the same sponsors as yourself.

  • Comment number 29.

    Does anyone know Mr Platinis views on Real's pursuit of Kaka and all the other Galacticos they are chasing?
    Will he condemn them as he has the Premier League clubs. Or is it that our press don't report his criticis of other European clubs.
    Real did nealry go bust and wre saved only by the Madrid council buying their training ground and then virtually handing it back to them.
    They do generate a lot of money worldwide, but not nearly enough to service spending £200m on players (rumours for this year) and paying their wages.

  • Comment number 30.

    Well done AC Milan for making such a ridiculous profit over a player still on his peak. With Berlusconi behind the club, I can't really believe this economical crisis excuse, it sounds more like "let's get money out of him now before he gets injured or goes off form and loses value".
    Florentino Perez is back at Real Madrid and it seems he's still the same. Every big player he bought couldn't resist the money and glamour of the club but what have they achieved? After Zidane, no one who arrived had any "real" success: Ronaldo, Beckham, Owen, Julio Baptista, Arjen Robben, Van Nistelrooy, I could go on forever.
    Unless Kaka brings Real Madrid some luck, I very much doubt things will change at all.
    Is Ronaldinho the next player going back to his roots in Brazil, following Ronaldo and Adriano steps?

  • Comment number 31.

    I think we are missing a bit here is this a good move for Kaka like some have said AC milan were designed around him i doubt he will have that luxury at Real with the players touted, and if they get Ribery and Ronaldo how do they all fit into the same system? Kaka plays through the middle but no striker both 2 wingers we will see. I think its the defense they should be stregthening rather than an already relatively ggod front line Huntelaar Robben etc

  • Comment number 32.


    yes in theory you have a point. However in reality it can change much quicker than anyone anticipates, much like the financial crises. And when the clubs are as huge as the top 4 the effect on other clubs can be massive. The Glazers at Man U have borrowed a lot of money against the club to fund their purchase of it. There is always a possibility they will go bankrupt. When you think of some big names like Meryll Lynch that had problems or indeed AIG, it could happen to the glazers. The creditors will then have no qualm about claiming their money back through selling assets of Man U, in other words players, facilities etc

    at Madrid its not the fortunes of a man or a fanily, its the institution. The reaosn why Milan are suffering is also becaus ethey are owned by an onwer, or group of owners so much of their finacial helath comes form the health of their presdient/s

  • Comment number 33.


    If Madrid generates so much cash as you say then why did it have to sell it's training ground for 200 mill a few years ago for new signings etc. They keep being bailed out by the king of Spain which again goes against everything platini and blatter bleat on about

  • Comment number 34.

    Yes but there would be no Shortage for investors for Man U, and as has been shown like at Madrid just because you are not owned by one owner not to say you wont get in finacial trouble,

  • Comment number 35.

    NIreland 1-0 england (great goal by the way!!)

    I cant pretend I am aware of their fiancial status. However, eventhough you are completely spot on about selling their training ground, I do believe it wasnt beacsue they were struggling fianncially, they had debts and they wanted to clear the debts and buy new players. I dont remember them being in serious trouble. and yes you can then argue about the legitimacy (spelling?) of their solution. However i will say that platini wasnt in charge then so couldnt do anything about it. I do feel its more a question of ownership that debt.

    But madrid do generate lots of money through shirt sales alone, beckham, zidane, kaka...their appearnce fees all over the world etc.

    Furthermore Madrid are not just a football club, they have very succesful teams in lots of other sports, so perhaps their value to community was big enough for the king to interfere? like when governments bail out businesses

  • Comment number 36.


    i agree, they are a global brand, but they are so huge, could anyone afford them right now? you see my point
    plus Man U are very likely to keep winning and making money as you pointed out earlier, however what of Man City now? what of Portsmouth? so then do you have rules that are different for same league?

  • Comment number 37.

    Will they be playing him at centre half?

    I guess not, as you say Tim, Kaka is a player 'for the final 40 metres of the field'

    I can't see that Kaka's signing is a strategic masterstroke at all. From what I've seen of Real Madrid over the past 2 years they can't defend to save their lives. They need to strengthen their defence before they can even talk about being in contention to win things again.

    The problem with Real is that they attempt to build from the front, not from the back. That may have worked in the 1950s and it worked at first in the early part of this decade because they already had Casillas, Hierro and Makelele- but it isn't going to work with this current squad. To build a great team, you need to start from the back.

  • Comment number 38.

    Not necessarly look at Barca hardly the Best denfense in the world and they just won the treble, i agree Real need some stregthening at the back, but the same time look at their back line its not bad they need anothe CB and Left Back but ramos and Pepe are two very good defenders.

  • Comment number 39.

    they also have diarra and gago, and as good as keeper as anyone in casillas. i think their problem has been the lack of a real manager since Del Bosque. but with an attacking line up of kaka, hunteelar, sneijder, van der vaart, robben, higuain et al, i hope we see the best of them next year, for footballs sake.

  • Comment number 40.

    at.38 Barcelona spent a lot of money on Daniel Alves, Yaya Toure, Gerard Pique and Eric Abidal to strengthen their back line and they also signed Seydou Keita to strengthen midfield. All good players with defensive as well as attacking qualities.

    Players like Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Eto'o - they've been at Barcelona for a while. It was the bolstering of the back end of their team which transformed them after their slump under Rijkaard. People praise the superstar attackers but underestimate some of those defensive guys and the job they've done.

    Pepe and Ramos are error-prone, Heinze is a liability these days for giving fouls away, Marcelo is not up to the job at left back either in a defensive or attacking sense, Cannavaro has been creaking for a while and is going back to Juventus anyway. Players like Diarra and Gago have not convinced in the holding role in midfield. It's there where Real Madrid have to strengthen, its those areas that cost them this season. Their attackers scored plenty of goals for them, they ripped up most defences in La Liga this season until they met Barcelona and Liverpool in the Champions League.

    Stevie Wonder could see where Real Madrid's problems are and recommend where to address them, Kaka does not solve any of those problems.

  • Comment number 41.


    You say it as though the banks who were lending, then went looking for loans (borrowing) to cover their liability (generally other parts of the business) and did not get it due to the money markets drying up. This is no correct as the banks had been borrowing (and building up debt) for years, their plan was that their lending would provide the money to cover this. They believed and for a long time it worked, that the money coming in was enough to cover what needed to go out. When people began defaulting on their loans in ever increasing numbers, the banks did then not have the money to pay their considerable liabilities elsewhere (debt to other banks in the main).

    It has quite a similarity to the owners of Liverpool (who I support), who have taken out massive debt to first buy the club then, improve the squad and build a new stadium. They were of the opinion that the money coming in would be enough to cover this, but this proved not to be the case.

  • Comment number 42.

    little off subject but...wolves will complete the signing of Zubar from Marseille, givet is finalising his transfer to blackburn and Fanni the right back at rennes is talking to west ham!

  • Comment number 43.

    Sorry BBR, but it was the Italian clubs followed by the Spanish top 2 that created the inflationary spiral in players fees/wages. Let's not forget that Platini was a beneficiary of this himself. Unfortunately, PL clubs were forced to follow suit if they wanted to compete in Europe.

    As far as foreign ownership is concerned, I can't see how Platini's suggestion would sit with EU regulations, given the EU haven't said a great deal about the UK utilities and companies now owned by French/German/US conglomerates. As soon as football clubs became PLCs they became fair game for foreign investment too.

    If Platini is so anti globalisation he should get out of football and into politics.

  • Comment number 44.

    Tim you took the words out of my mouth when i heard Kaka was leaving. I really think this is the kind of challenge Ronaldinho needs.

    You have to remember that he won every major honour in football by the age of 26 and maybe his type of personality needs a new challenge. Milan were Kaka's team, now that is open to anyone with the right determinitaion.

    I had tipped Milan for the Champs league, until now. But who knows. This may also help Pato to become the new golden boy.

  • Comment number 45.

    Those governing football in England have to be aggressive with these anti-EPL FOR for they do not like the EPL. There was no cry when Serie A and La Liga were dominating. Wake up.

    Check out how many foreign players Barcelona and Real play. And Inter etc. It is not just the EPL, it is everone.

  • Comment number 46.


    some valid points certainly, notably as to where it started, but it was mostly italian clubs as a whole. Also no club needed to follow suit to compete, the likes of Bayern, Porto and PSV are testament to that, thoguh not as consistently as any club would want to challenge

    However saying Platini was benefited from that, thoguh perhaps true, he was merely a player, and im not sure how involved any player is/would wnat to be/ or allowed to be involved in the finacial side of the club.

    The debate should be wether football is run as a sport, welcome platinin, or run as an organisation or business, no place for platini. I as a football lover dont like the money side of it, but maybe its the price of its own success and evolution as the worlds biggets provider of entertainment. and its because you're right about the EU regulations that platini cant actually do anythign about it. hes a bit of a dreamer, and the world he wants when football is no more than a sport is long gone.

  • Comment number 47.

    @ cactus

    again...when the italian and spanish clubs were doing what EPL clubs are accused of, it was a differnet leadership in UEFA, so blame the old regime not the new one. so we shouldnt learn from past mistakes?!

    and its not anti EPL, as a proud frenchman its my favourite league in the world and it was since early 90s.

    p.s. barcelona's first eleven includes valdez, puyol, xavi, iniesta, and messi, all but the latter came form their own youth system. they also regulalry field busquets and bojan. no current top 4 team ahs that many youth players in firts eleven.

  • Comment number 48.

    YesRedArmy..........but had the banks lent responsibly there would never have been the problem. Without going into more detail, there were many macro issues behind the credit crunch, and it is very different from the mainly micro issues of managing the financial structure of your company correctly and prudently.

    For a company managing its cash flow correctly and keeping a sensible debt to equity ratio appropriate to its particular business model, the actual size of debt is irrelevant.

    Yes to predict cash flows, the company needs to be aware of the current and also anticipate the future macro environment, but having done so any company seeking growth and ROI will use debt as part of their financial strategy. The nominal size of that debt does not matter at all only the ability to service it in both good times and bad.

  • Comment number 49.

    sorry meant to say 'all but the latter are spanish, all actually came from youth system'

  • Comment number 50.

    supposedly david villa has now agreed to join real madrid,
    has perez not learned from his first spell at madrid?
    the players he wants are all fantastic players but in the end real madrid are just going round in circles

  • Comment number 51.

    He would of gone to man city if it had not been for the introduction of the 50% tax of anything over 150 grand :D. He'da been screwed after 3 days earnings.

  • Comment number 52.

    I still strongly beleive he is the best player in the world. So difficult to mark, impossible to contain and can slice through a team at will. His pass for Milans third goal against Liverpool in 05 epitomised him as a player.
    Along with Iniesta and Xavi he is the most influential player on the planet, and if Madrid build a team around him, they will be hard to beat.
    56 Million is a shrewd bit of buisness to, especially with Chelsea and City throwing their money around him.

  • Comment number 53.

    real will bring in central defenders this summer, but the reason why madrid have been so bad defensively over recent years, is not due to failing to spend money on central defenders !! ( w samuel, canavarro, pepe, metzelder ! ) The problem is mainy because they have been unable to control matches and possession, and have been very poor winning the ball back when they've lost it... They need an injection of quality all over the pitch. esp. midfield... and a team mentality of winning the ball back as soon as its lost right from the front ( much like barca)

    Kaka is only the start of madrid's spending spree this summer. Spanish internationals will follow, as perez has made the re-spanishization of madrid a priority

  • Comment number 54.

    49 yes
    Let me modify the question
    how many of the teams that made the knockout stages of the ECL had 6 native players?
    How many of the last 8?

    It isn't just the EPL

    Platini wants to make the playing field so level that the French clubc can compete. Not going to happen!

  • Comment number 55.

    I find this talk of Kaka going to Real 'to help out Milan' insulting to my intelligence. Ultimately he is a footballer and, just like Ashley Cole or anyone else, he has taken this decision for himself. The only reason he didn't join City is that they are not a 'big' club competing in Europe - I'm sure Kaka's wage at Real is equally astronomical. To describe Kaka as 'diplomatic' or 'serene' is a joke and appears to make him a martyr - which is completely ridiculous.

  • Comment number 56.

    56 Million is a shrewd bit of buisness ...........

    hmmm, great player that Kaka is, I am not so sure!

    Arshavin for 15 Million or Kaka for 56 Million, which one is the shrewdest bit of business?

  • Comment number 57.


    "Where have you been for the last 18 months? Living in an underground bunker? The global financial crisis was caused, in the main, by companies (in this case banks (of various types investment etc etc)) running up massive debts and thinking they could service them. Suddenly the rug is pulled out from beneath the market (mostly caused by bad housing debt in the US sending smaller companies under and the wave continuing on).

    No one saw this coming (despite what that idiot on sky news tries to say) and the very same could happen with football (has actually happened in a few cases (leeds a while back, West ham, Portsmouth, Southampton to name but a few).

    This is what Platini has an issue with and to say that There is nothing wrong with debt, nor the size of the debt is very short sighted."

    That's not to say that debt as such is a bad thing. It clearly depends on the type of debt, and whether it is sustainable or not. For most banks the initial problem wasn't the amount of debt, but that they were making bad loans which couldn't be repaid, along with investments which created speculative bubbles. Once these loans were defaulted upon and the bubbles burst and the banks began to have difficulty servicing the debt, or trading it with other banks, that's when the level of debt became a problem - a cause of the depth of the recession but not what began it (though Santander came out of it just fine and are buying everything else up - different regulations in Spain meaning the type of debt wasn't so bad).

    I would argue that debt can be crucial to football clubs if used right. For teams with limited funds it's important to be able to purchase players as and when they become available as the right player does not come up too regularly at the right price. Making a loss for that season would then be worth reducing spending in the future to pay the debt, as the team has been improved (essentially the interest payments on servicing the debt become the extra cost of signing the player). That's debt at a sustainable level, the team doesn't have to increase income to pay it off and, barring a huge drop in income, there's no problem.

    It's when teams speculate on future success on the field due to increased spending and intend to continue consistently spending at the same (high) level when the problem occurs, e.g; Newcastle (before Ashley cleared their debts) and Leeds. Also Derby to some extent, who spent their parachute payments during their season in the Premiership.

    Other clubs who have financial difficulties are in that position mainly due to mismanagement, the owners' wealth taking a hit, or the owner bankrolling a team way beyond its level then pulling out, (West Ham/Gretna respectively), unforeseen relegation and drop down the leagues (Charlton, Southampton), or the club being saddled with the cost of being taken over (Liverpool, Man Utd).

    As for no-one fore-seeing the recession that's not true. Certainly most of the mainstream on the news seemed bewildered at first after things crashed, but Edward S. Herman wrote an article in the late '80's (see his book 'The Triumph of the Market') saying that there would be a global recession around the turn of the century if things continued. Timing was out a bit out, but just shows it was obvious enough if someone could see it that long ago.

    Anyway... surely Kaka's transfer means Ronaldo's staying put for at least another year? If the reported prospective fee of £70m is accurate, surely even Real can't afford to buy him and Kaka at one go without a sugar daddy in the style of Chelsea or City?

  • Comment number 58.

    I always felt Kaka never really wanted to go whole heartedly. More that AC milan were pushing him out of the door. If that was the case as i believe it is, i don't think he can be criticised for his reasons of choosing a club no matter what they were. If his beloved Ac milan club want to make money from him then why should'nt he go somewhere offering him 8 figures a year?

  • Comment number 59.

    With SETANTA going pear shaped what impact will this have on EPL?

  • Comment number 60.

    @ cactus

    i wouldnt know exactly how many had what you call 'native' players, certainyl teams like Lyon, Bayern, sporting, panathinaikos et al had a lot of native players. maybe no more or less than top 4. I dont think thats the issue here, because as you point out all clubs have a lot of foreign player sand rightly so. in sports you should be judged on ability, not rcae, religion etc.

    I will disagree with your point about Platini's wishes for just the french to compete. Football in France is run differently than top 3 leagues, and on the plus side, finicially its much healthier, but it cant compete. Platini's wish is to see teams from all over europe have a chance of competing, like the great teams of Red Star, Steua, Kiev, and so many others. He doesnt want the success to be absed on how much money you can borrow or make. And as currently the EPL is the strongest many in this country think they are being picked on. I can understand the reaosn behind thinking like this, but i dont think thats the truth. Reember first and foremost platini was a football player, loves the game, and knows the game. he has also managed and coached.

    Now perhaps he's too much of a dreamer, and maybe football has gone too far to come back to the old days. But wether he is right or not, wether you agree with him or not. I genuienly belive that he doe sthink what he's doing is for the good of the game. However as someone earlier said his wishes do clash with EU regulations so it is doubtful if much of it come into effect

  • Comment number 61.

    56 Million is a shrewd bit of buisness ...........

    hmmm, great player that Kaka is, I am not so sure!

    Arshavin for 15 Million or Kaka for 56 Million, which one is the shrewdest bit of business?


    madrid have got a clause which will mean 50% of kaka's image rights are owned by madrid.. they did the same with zidane, and beckham..

    perez actually said , the zidane signing was in effect one of the cheapest he ever made.. because of the money he made for madrid

  • Comment number 62.

    19. At 10:03am on 09 Jun 2009, Wazza v2 wrote:

    Oh please! If he was that concerned about Milans finances, he would have left when City offered nearly 100m

    There are footballing reasons as well you know.

    Why would an already well established world great want to play for a team with no history, average players, in a city with miserable weather? Compare that to Real Madrid, it was barley worth the effort taken to type this its so obvious

    Added to this did you even read the blog? It clearly highlights the relationship that Kaka and Milan had since Milan accepted the bid. Things had changed since Man City making a fool of themselves on the world stage.

    Kaka would have chosen Real Madrid over City even if they only offered him £10 a week.

  • Comment number 63.

    It is good for Madrid to have the world's best player in recent time after Zidane, I enjoy his result-oriented, no-frills style. I wish he had come to Chelsea, though at lesser fee. I had also thought of the by-product of the move out of Milan as regards Ronaldinho. In deed, Milan should have thought the same way, it is a good deal, having an excellent replacement in Ronaldinho, if he regains his form, and huge pay, the world record. I will be supporting Madrid for domestic glories against Barca. That is how far I can wish them well. I wish the blues to meet and beat Madrid at Benabou at the next champions league final.

  • Comment number 64.

    Cactus99.......It could have a signifiant impact on the PL. I believe it signals a peak in revenue received from selling UK TV rights.

    However, many of the top clubs are succesfully expanding their brands globally and therefore may be able to increase revenue from selling international TV rights at increased prices, and off set against future revenue declines from UK TV rights.

    If they can't do that, then transfer fees and player wages will have to decline, meaning less big stars in the PL.

    Its always been a cyclical business.

  • Comment number 65.

    I like Kaka a lot.

    His play doesn't excite me as much as Messi's, for example, but he seems to be a genuinely honourable guy - something that seems almost ridiculous in the context of most of the shallow, narcissistic, nothing-stars of English football.

    My one regret here is that Berlusconi has been allowed to get away with his fudging of the issue.

    He has slimed his way out of stating the truth - that Kaka wanted to stay, but Berlusconi wanted the money. This fact has implicitly cast Kaka in a poor light, and I think he should have had the guts to stand up for himself.

    But Berlusconi is indeed the "teflon don".

    I should add of course that despite my use of this phrase, Berlusconi *has never been brought to court over his alleged links to the Mafia*.

    Which kind of reinforces my point, I would say.

  • Comment number 66.

    Fair point Pekster 11..........although Perez said that about Zidane with the benefit of hindsight.

    If the same arrangement on image rights does indeed exists with Kaka, only time will tell if history repeats itself.

  • Comment number 67.


    What do you think of Hernanes from Sao Paulo as a replacement for Kaka?

  • Comment number 68.

    perez actually said , the zidane signing was in effect one of the cheapest he ever made.. because of the money he made for madrid


    he's hardly going to come out and say "yep, my era crippled this football club, and now I am back to pick up the pieces"

  • Comment number 69.

    It is interesting to see players who are basically leaving because of the money spend so much time trying to look good with the fans of the club they are leaving behind - witness Gareth Barry's letter to the Evening Mail about his move to Man City.

    I think it's a good thing. The cynical may say they are protecting their 'brand' but in both cases - Kaka and Barry - they spent a lot of time with their clubs and probably feel they owe a debt that goes beyond the cash they have brought in. I remember reading that Cantona's move to Man U was bumpy because Eric wanted control over the message to Leeds fans.

    Footballers are human beings; some are decent, some are Adebeyor

  • Comment number 70.

    Never mind this Kaka nonesense can the BBC confirm why on earth Newcastle are still being reported on in the Premier League section. They are a Championship club and should be rightly posted on the Championship section with Forest, Derby and the other fallen giants aiming to make it back to the promise land. Is it also true that Newcastle are going to have the letters BBC embroidered onto their sleeves given the obvious love in that occurs each season?

  • Comment number 71.

    Ronaldo, Adriano, Ronaldinho...isn't it strange how these brilliant Brazilian forwards all suffer the same fate? They get injured, balloon in weight, lose focus and never capture their form again.

    I have a theory about what might be going on here, but I'll keep it to myself as I don't want to make any false accusations.

  • Comment number 72.

    One point worth mentioning here, is that this transfer reflects the predictions of many economists, in that the 'purchasing power' of Premiership clubs has declined significantly due to the fall in the value of Sterling vs the Euro. While the Premiership will no doubt spend more money in absolute terms than ever before this summer, it is important to remember that Sterling is simply no longer worth what it used to be. This impacts not only on how much player you get for your money, but also some players who joined Premiership clubs just prior to the financial crisis have effectively taken wage cuts of around 30% (This is of course, if they did not get a large wage rise by moving to England)

    I think that this transfer displays a small rebalancing of European football finance. While the Premiership will still vastly outspend other leagues, Real and any European club operating using the Euro i.e. every major nation has gained from the devaluation of the Pound. Bear in mind alos, that this is not the most expensive transfer ever in terms of the currency it was paid in (Zidane was around 75M Euros at the time), only in Sterling.

  • Comment number 73.

    @ 71,

    you cant say you have a theory but not share it! come on!

    though for those you mention lets not forget the aldair, roberto carlos, cafu, kaka, gilberto etc

  • Comment number 74.

    May I retract part of my last statement from post 72. It was still possible to conduct transfers in pesetas at the time of Zidane's transfer to Real. I don't know if this was the case, or not, but if so it would change the valuation, and Kaka would be the most expensive player. I stand by the rest of the post though! :D

  • Comment number 75.

    I think you know what my theory is. These players are marked out as prodigies from a young age by coaches who are determined for them to succeed. Then when they sustain long-term injuries, the routines that they're used to aren't necessary any more.

    Ballooning in weight and losing mental focus suggest something to me, but again I don't want to state it in case I'm wrong.

  • Comment number 76.

    hmm, interesting,

    also it could be a case of having recahed such fortunes form such background, you let it get to your head, and think now that have it all, i just want to party. players coming from those backgrounds used to have to work all their footballing lives to ensure future 'retirement' but with everything they now make in a couple of years the desire and hunger has left them

  • Comment number 77.

    Everyone is applauding Kaka for helping out Milan, but if that was really his intention - to help the club's finances - then surely taking the Man City offer would have been more beneficial for the team?

  • Comment number 78.

    Bit of a difference between Kaka and Gareth Barry for Man City. In the end the best players will not want to play for an unfancied team in the drab northwest of England (where I was born and raised, before I get a bunch of abuse).
    Robinhos decision to move to City, is still a mystery to me, and maybe the exception that proves the rule (though I havent given up on the view that he thought he was signing for United).
    This is intending no disrespect for City, but ultimately you are what you are, and believe it or not even Manchester United have struggled with a number of big names in the past, who simply didnt fancy Manchester as a home. London, is a different story, and of course Madrid, Barcelona, Milan and Napoli, well lets be honest if its a place you would love to go to for a holiday, then its going to be a draw for the players and their wives.
    As for Ronaldinho, what a shame that one of the greatest talents we have ever seen should be insufficiently motivated to get fit. Actually with an attitude like that city could probably persuade hime to come- they would just have to show him the dvd "24hr Party People", and he would be on the first flight over.

  • Comment number 79.

    In these times of recession, what they are doing with Kaka is despicable. Real Madrid is not real football club with team spirit and bonding

  • Comment number 80.

    firstly, i haven't actually read one correct account of what lead to the global recession. so here goes my attempt.
    mortgage lenders in the US, aimed at the sub-prime market (sub-prime is like lower working class over here) were giving out mortgages to these people, saying that, instead of the usual 20%(i think) equity which a person needed to take out a loan, would be lowered to something between 1-5%, with the condition that the mortgages would be paid back at ridiculously high rates of interest. the mortgage lenders funded this through interbank lending and through borrowing from creditors. the banks new that the mortgage loans were high risk, high return. the high risk part came back to bite them in the arse. when a large majority of the people on a sub-prime mortgage defaulted on the payments, the banks then had to pay back money to creditors and other banks from whom they'd borrowed money to fund the sub-prime mortgage lenders, from their own pockets. this caused a liquidity crisis, and a break down in confidence, which meant that banks that did have money (who were not involved in sub-prime markets) were unwilling to continue interbank lending. hence a shortage in the money supply lead to deflation (a continued fall in the price level), resulting in the us economy to shrink, which inevitably, due to increased globalisation, filtered through to the majority of the world's economys.
    secondly, there is such a thing as GOOD debt. i dont know who it was, but i read above about someone writing how if debt is large it must be bad etc etc.
    banks run on good debt, by lending each other money at high interest rates, its how they make there money.
    in the long run, clubs like manchester united, real madrid, chelsea, can survive whilst continuing the ridiculously high amounts of spending, because they have GOOD debt, which means they're financial structures are stable enough to survive shocks to the financial markets. what happened with the us sub-prime market was not normal circumstances. resulted from ignorance from US mortgage lenders, which im sure will mean that in the future they'll have learnt from there past mistakes.
    as for kaka going to real madrid, if they get ronaldo and villa aswell, which has been touted through the media today, what a team they will have. arguably the best keeper in the world in casillas, a front 4 consisting of robben, kaka, ronaldo, villa..with the aquisition of one world class centre back, i cant see past them winning everything next season

  • Comment number 81.

    The passage of Kaka' to Real came as no surprise. Personally, I never thought that Man City were even on the radar when the story broke out at the beginning of this year. To my way of thinking, the alliance of the big 15/20 European clubs is at the heart of all big name transfers eg Zidane to Real from Juve, Ronaldo from Barca to Inter to Real, and the impending deal linking Ibrahimovic to Barca from Inter which could also involve Eto'o and or Iniesta. The cynic in me leads me to believe that irrespective of what Blatter and Platini might do or say is of little or no relevance to what the big clubs alliance actually decide to do in the end. They know that the movement of big name players serves all their collective interests and they won't allow any obstacles to stand in their way.

  • Comment number 82.

    56 - norapeti - at that level of transfers it's never just about on-field matters. For example, you are bound to sell a few more Kaka shirts around the world than Arshavin shirts, and therefore re-coup your investment. See also the good point at 61 by pekster11.

  • Comment number 83.

    All of you talking about Madrid selling their training ground to the council and receiving money from the king of Spain don't have a clue.

    They didn't sell their training ground to the council. Their training ground was very old and while initially it was on the outskirts of town, as Madrid expanded it became part of the financial hub. Madrid council told Madrid they wanted to re-zone the area and if Madrid agreed they would split the grounds and sell them on. They did this and 4 major corporations bought the land from Madrid and the council and built office blocks there.

    Madrid had to build a new training centre at considerable expense, it is a very high quality set up though.

    And the king of Spain does not give them money, don't be so absurd.

  • Comment number 84.

    Kaka is a great player but whether he is the right player for Real just now is the real issue. Real have looked a poor team of late and arguably need a stronger central midfield as teams like Barcelona and Liverpool have easily dominated them in the middle third of the pitch. I wonder if Real will try to play Kaka as a supporting striker behind say Ruud VN with two combative midfieders?
    Unfortunately for Real their defence is also 3rd rate and if they want to get their hands on the Champions League again this will have to be addressed.
    There seem to be 3 other reasons for signing Kaka apart from his considerable skill:

    1). Comfort Shopping:
    Barcelona win the Champion's League and the whites' fans are
    2). Aesthetics:
    Kaka plays with considerable craft and cunning and Madrid want this.
    3). Marketing:
    He is a handsome global superstar with gorgeous wife.

    If Real are seriously trying to improve in Spain let alone Europe they need a meaner defense.

  • Comment number 85.

    Hilarious to think that only a few months ago Milan fans were cheering for Kaka in their thousands as he waved from his hotel balcony after refusing to leave for Manchester City. Oh what a "great loyal guy he is"...."how refreshing that a player should know that's its not all about money,"......yeah right.

  • Comment number 86.

    Kaka played Mancghester City like a fiddle. He never had any intention of going there. It was just a way to pump up his salary when he did eventually move. If you remember, Manchester City were so depsparate to get Kaka that his weekly wages were going to be about 200,000 pounds a week. Very savy from Kaka and his people. He is just another greedy footballer.

  • Comment number 87.

    The transfer of kaka, and the proposed transfers of Ronaldo, Ribery, Eto, Benzema is simply a sign of how football as a commodity has grown globally (USA, Asia etc). The wealth of the sport is vast.

    I am just glad english clubs and the premier league are able to compete, both on and off the pitch. We sat and watched the Italian & Spanish leagues dominate & attract all the best players for so long.

    I distinctly remember a comment made by Christian Vieri back in the mid to late ninetees claiming he would only transfer to an English club to retire. All the best English talent went the other way (Gazza, Ince, Platt etc). While in Italy tranfers of Buffon, Vieri, Crespo, Ronaldo all gained crazy fees. And in spain it was nearly the same.

    Now we have a really attractive league. Four 'big clubs' competing in Europe and a new wealthy club trying to budge in. All football clubs are governed by money and always have been. The likes of Man U, Liverpool, Spurs, Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, Milan etc were always able to attract the best players because they were in big cities, had a large support group and therefore could pay the higher wages. Today is no different. Footballers loyalty does not exist. If Barcelona did not pay messi, iniesta or xavi £100k a week, then they would move too.

    There does seem to be a snobery among the European (clubs) elite that somehow Man City's money isn't good enough, because they are not a 'big club'. If I were a player, then the prospect of creating or altering history away from the normal supposedly 'big clubs'gobbling up all the trophies, and I were to get competatively paid for it, then great.

  • Comment number 88.

    Exciting times returning to the Bernabeau. Perez is a master at Public Relations, witness the media coverage this move is generating for Madrid. For him, the move is more about the marketing potential than the on-field benefits. Kaka is a devout Christian, tee-total, well spoken advertisers dream with a huge profile in South America that Perez will look to increase under the Madrid banner. He is also a great player. Madrid will more than make their investment back on advertising and sponsorship revenue, and it brings huge kudos to the club and brand. Never underestimate Perez, English clubs keep making that mistake.
    I expect some other eye-catching signings to follow, Ronaldo, Ribery and possibly Villa. All three is very possible.
    The pressure is on Pellegrini as with all these stars success will be demanded, the usual revolving door managerial policy at Madrid will be sustained as Perez won't show patience. However, Madrid aren't as bad as some would like to believe and with the talent they are assembling I expect they will be rivalled only by Barcelona for entertainment and attacking flair.
    The Premiership clubs should be very very worried, the cheap pound and credit crunch allied to the return of Perez and Barca's triumph signals the end of the EPL's short reign over europe. Talent will flock from the EPL to the 2 Spanish giants and they will contest Europes biggest prize whilst the EPL adjusts to looking on from afar and dreaming of the days when they reached finals.

  • Comment number 89.

    Terrible move for Kaka this. Real are in decline. No matter who came in as president. The club needs to get their priorities right and that was starting in defense. Cant see Madrid doing anything next year, Barca will still be too strong. The old galactico era was totally over-rated anyway. With the players they signed for the prices, they under-achieved big time. Ronaldo and Beckham didn't win in Europe. Zidane only once. Not great considering the money spent. Madrid 2nd in La Liga next year and knocked out in 1st knockout round of CL.

  • Comment number 90.

    Manchester City attempt to buy Kaka: (Outrage) "They'e ruining football".
    Real Madrid buy Kaka: ---Silence ---

    Say's it all about the British Sports Media & Platini too. One rule for the 'big' European clubs (including the Premiership top 4). A different rule for others...

  • Comment number 91.

    Terrible move for Kaka this. Real are in decline

    WERE in a decline..

    Kaka, villa, silva, maybe albiol, maybe x alonso, ribery or CR7 will arrest the decline immediately...

    football like life is about ups and downs...

    madrid have had a few bad years ( not withstanding 2 la liga titles !)
    but are on the up again

  • Comment number 92.

    January 09: Man City have £100,000,000 bid accepted for Kaka

    June 09: Real Madrid have £62,000,000 bid accepted for Kaka

    Am I the only person who finds the difference between these two figures astonishing? Did City not test the water before offering £100million? Was £100million their first offer? If Milan were willing to accept £62million what does that say about the business sense and negotiating ability of those at Man City? If I was a City fan I'd be concerned that people with that little business nous were running my club.

  • Comment number 93.

    Enjoying the sun as you lounge poolside in Madrid v. enjoying a kebab in the rain in Manchester after a game.

    Not too difficult a choice.

  • Comment number 94.

    Why do people always complain about Ronaldhino? I like characters who throw it all away. It's very rock n roll and a nice change from all the majority of bland healthy bores who litter the footballing world. He is just the latest in a long line of people from Jim Morrisson to Sid Vicious through to Maradonna and Mickey Rourke - people with loads of talent and an appetite for destruction. He should totally go off the rails now for a few years instead of sitting on the bench sorry fence.

  • Comment number 95.

    "Enjoying the sun as you lounge poolside in Madrid v. enjoying a kebab in the rain in Manchester after a game.

    Not too difficult a choice."

    Manchester every time!

  • Comment number 96.

    i dont get the appeal of real for these superstar players, 5/6 years ago maybe but it was only a few months ago that they were humiliated by liverpool.

    surely any world class player would watch that and have some doubt as to what kind of outfit they are joining.

    it'll be interesting to see what other galacticos are brought in and how they gel but even with another couple of monster signings, i cant see real breaking into the champs league semi finals for a couple of seasons at least.

    they'll also have an even bigger struggle trying to take the la liga title away from a genius barca.

  • Comment number 97.

    Real are still the biggest club in the world though, will always be a draw to follow in the footsteps of legends. Football is a funny game as well, there's nothing to say they wont draw Liverpool again in the Champions League and give them an absolute spanking.

    Kaka is a quality player, if they add one or two more then gel as a unit they will have a great team. Pellegrini is the key man here, he's a great record, and has instilled team ethic everywhere he's coached. That was arguably the one thing missing from Real this season.

  • Comment number 98.

    Kaka is the K.O signing which will spark a transformation of success for the Galactico's! There will be a massive overhaul, and the thing is with defenders they are generally less publicised globally! It's hard to spot a good defender over one game as opposed to an attacking player! They have to put together a string of performances before they start receiving praise... so obviously on the market they are harder to find! They are the gold spray=painted in silver! Look at Everton average attack, Collosal defence... But Lescott came from Wolves, Jagielka came from Sheffield! Centre backs can really come from anywhere and not change their game much except for consistency and composure: quality just shines more when they master the two previous concepts!
    Trying to take vidic is wrong... Real Madrid wouldn't be so bad to purchase some centre backs, their defence is disastrous: Heinze horrific, Pepe error prone and Ramos can redeem himself! Ouch even Clichy has enough class for their team of under-achievers. Barca are trying to fix something that isn't broken.... LINKED with Luca Lanky Lucky Toni??? NO! ETO'o is better and Bojan is breaking thru... Get some new left backs: Maxwell, Lahm, Adibal is average at best. Mascherano would be magnificent, Marquez is liability and temperamentally challenged. Barca dont need Ibra the ego-centrical idiot, David villa would suit them, sell hleb to Holland Im sure Jol would love him

  • Comment number 99.

    I'm sick of hearing about greedy footballers from fans that are just jealous because they spend their salaries on supporting their team. Money is enticing and it's not as if he went to Man city! Man city fans should be mad: I like them .... Why can't they build a legacy and invest: at the end of the day price tags= mean nothing on the picth when u are winning! Rooney, Ronaldo. Berbatov. Rio. Carrick. Nani: All in excess of £15 mill each... overall £130 mill.... If they were starting from stratch and they had to spend it in an instant: then it would be acceptable... A millionaire from the slums is entitled to shop at armani, and leave oxfam behind...

  • Comment number 100.

    What a relief.

    We all like the famous big teams to do well and for the less famous ones to struggle.

    When Man City went for Kaka it was obscene, but now it's Real Madrid it's great news for the game.

    Well done Real.

    PS. Can I have a job as a Football journalist ?


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