Milan to Madrid via Manchester
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.
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.