AC Milan legend Kaka has reflected on some of the best moments of his career, both with the Rossoneri and in the game in general.
Ali Aden nearly broke the internet back in February of this year, as he – an amateur player from Hackney – screamed at Kaka – a World Cup and Ballon d’Or winner – to square the ball during a 7-a-side game.
The result? Well, Kaka didn’t exactly listen. As Aden glanced in his direction, he simply saw the Brazilian smash it left-footed into the top corner instead.
Kakà spoke to Sky Sports about his memories as a player and his experience at Milan, with his words transcribed by MilanNews.
Did Pippo Inzaghi ever ask you to cut the ball back during your time with Milan?
“It happened a couple of times (laughs). I asked for it too a few times. I played with some fantastic players like Andriy Shevchenko, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Sometimes you throw the ball to these guys and you think that it’s impossible that they’ll score from certain situations. You think ‘Give it back and I’ll try something different’ but then they score the goal. All you can do is celebrate with them and congratulate.”
Among your former team-mates, who do you think was the best shooter?
“Maybe Adriano. He had a powerful shot. But I think Roberto Carlos is number one.”
On the best goals he scored…
“The goal against Argentina at the Emirates is one of the top three of my career. The others are those against Fenerbahce at San Siro and the one with United at Old Trafford. I never realised that, of the first three goals in career, two were in England. The goal against Manchester United in the semi-final is probably the best goal I’ve ever scored. ”
On the 2007 Champions League triumph…
“I think 2007 was the pinnacle of my career. That’s when I won most of the major trophies that could be won. The Champions League, the Club World Cup, the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Player of the Year. Of course, there are other trophies but 2007 was my best.”
On the Milan of that time…
“It was perfect. It’s not just about talent, we all know. Sure, talent is important. But football is kind of a puzzle and you have to put the pieces together.
“There were so many leaders in the team and no vanities, so everyone wanted to win, no matter who scored. When you have this kind of situation with such a group, the puzzle was perfect and we had amazing results. We also had an amazing coach in Carlo Ancelotti.”
“From every coach I’ve had in my career, I’ve learned something. All the people you work with can teach you something, be it tactically, technically or just something personal.
“But Carlo was the best for me because he brought out the best in me. The most impressive feature he has, in my opinion, is his ability to manage people. Man management is so important. Sure, he’s really good with tactics and he understands the game and everything, but with players he is very good.
“You have a squad of 25 players and you can only field 11. What will you do with the others? How will you keep them motivated? He knew how to do it. Wherever he goes, when he leaves, he leaves this good feeling with the hearts of the players.”
On his experience at Real Madrid…
“I had to change my game a bit. Real Madrid’s style is very aggressive, so when we were winning 3-0, the fans were still shouting at us to score more goals. This is Real Madrid’s style, very aggressive. Sometimes you have to adapt.”
On the No.10 role in football…
“We no longer have the classic number 10. I’ve seen this change in the game. The situation is strange because it’s not that we don’t have these players, it’s just that the other positions are seen as more important. Instead, we have this 4-3-3 where the three players in midfield are box to box.”
Do you have a theory as to why this happened?
“Now, it is quite important that the defensive line is high. When the line is high, the space is smaller so the # 10 no longer has the space to think about the game. Before we had some space because the defenders had fear that the 10 had many situations available.”
On a possible career as a coach…
“Maybe in three or five years I’ll want to get back on the pitch and be closer to the players but at the moment I see myself more in a managerial role [director].”