Kaka moves to Madrid ‘for life’ – which European superstar is next?

09 June 2009: Kaká has signed a six-year contract and will earn €9,120,000 a year at the Santiago Bernabeu. As expected, he’ll wear the famous number “5” shirt previously worn by legends Fabio Cannavaro and Zinedine Zidane.

“Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, Kaka, is a Real Madrid player after an agreement was reached with AC Milan. The Brazilian footballer has now successfully passed all medical tests. Kaka has signed a contract with Real Madrid for the next six seasons.” – RealMadrid.com

05 June 2009

It’s only been a couple days since new Real Madrid president Florentino Perez took office and already he’s causing quite a stir amongst some of the biggest clubs in European Football. Earlier today news broke of a confirmed deal between AC Milan and Real Madrid that will send Kaka to the Bernabeu for a shocking £56.2m fee.  The move, which is supposed to be confirmed on Monday, would mark the biggest transfer fee in footballing history since Zinedine Zidane made the switch from Juventus to Real Madrid for £46m.

So Real Madrid got their man. Fine. No one should be surpsied with Perez’s first signing given the way he splashed the transfer funds during the Galacticos era at the club. However, what is surprising is the way in which he went about finalising the move, almost bullying Milan chief executive Adriano Galliani into making the deal by throwing as much cash at them as possible until he had to bite.

Like a boxer prior to a big fight, Real Madrid talked the big talk on a consistent basis with Perez throwing out names he was planning on taking off market with the intent of throwing the football world into pandemonium. And just when you thought Madrid’s talk was nothing but hot air, they went out and landed the first blow, shocking the rest of the footballing world from the start and putting many teams on high alert.

It’s not very often that you get a concession from one of the world’s richest men whilst battling it out for a top football talent, but that’s what Florentino Perez received when he won the Kaka sweepstakes. For once in his life, Roman Abramovich appears to be powerless to the Real Madrid train chugging down the tracks. Instead of crying over spilt milk, Chelsea have decided to turn their eyes towards other names like Villa and Ribery. But aren’t Madrid already tracking both of those players?

Indeed, it appears that Madrid will be everywhere this summer, chasing Ronaldo with money in their hands whilst whispering sweet nothings into the ear of David Villa. In years past this was Chelsea territory, as the London club swept through the transfer market always calling after big names like Kaka but never landing them.

In the end that’s what makes the Kaka transfer so thrilling as Perez made a claim and delivered on it. He did it before with the old Galacticos when he brought in Figo, Beckham, Ronaldo, and Zidane — but this transfer market is a different beast.

In the internet world where rumours seem to move at lightspeed, players seem to be listed with a host of teams before they can blink their eye. Most of these clubs value these players not just for their on the pitch value but for their “economic” (as Galliani put it) value as well. Hence the reason why the biggest names in football (Kaka, Ronaldo, Gerrard, Ribery, Villa, Silva, etc) rarely if ever move clubs in this day and age.

Perez seemingly broke the rules regarding big names (once again) by throwing as much money as possible at a club until they had to take the deal. People for years said Kaka would never leave Milan; they were certain he’d remain at the club and stay loyal to them. Whilst his loyalty may have still been with Milan when the deal was made, you can be certain that Milan’s loyalty changed when the money was waived in their face.

Forget the empty transfer rumours where Chelsea were chasing Villa, Silva and Kaka with £100m; Real Madrid is different this transfer season. They’re walking around with cold, hard cash, and they’re throwing it in the direction of any club willing to swap money for a household name.

At one point many journalists probably thought it ludicrous that Real Madrid would spend upward of £150m+ on transfers targets. But after watching them nab Kaka early and set their sights on Ronaldo and Ribery, it’s come to the point in the boxing match after the first punch has been thrown that you all of a sudden realise that the empty words the so-called boxed was spewing prior to the match were true. In other words: it’s time to start believing Florentino Perez.

Teams may claim that their players aren’t for sale, but if Madrid walks in the door with £45, £50 or maybe even £70m (in Ronaldo’s case), you better be damn sure that those clubs who were so against clubs such as Real Madrid poaching their talent for exorbitant amounts of money will listen.

This is the cash age where money talks, and as far as Florentino Perez is concerned he’ll let that money speak all the way to building a new Galacticos club that dwarfs the previous version. Perez will bring in the big names … it’s just a matter of getting those players to gel on the pitch. That’s the £150m question.

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