Ricky Kaka has spoken at length to La Gazzetta dello Sport about his possible return to Milan, the Cristiano Ronaldo effect on Serie A and the Ballon d’Or.
Leonardo hinted a few weeks ago that after Paolo Maldini, the next Milan legend to return to the club as part of the management could be Kaka, as the Brazilian is interested in ‘shadowing’ Leo and learning the role of being a director.
Ricky will be in Naples to watch the Rossoneri face Carlo Ancelotti’s Napoli on Saturday and then next week he will be at Stadio San Siro to watch Gennaro Gattuso and his boys face Roma. Milan are beginning another difficult season, but Kaka dares to dream big: “Juventus is the strongest team in Italy. But many things happen in football. It happened that Leicester won the Premier League, for instance,” Kaka told Wednesday’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport.
“Being Leonardo’s intern at Milan? The priority for me is to still be with my children, Luca and Isabela, who are still young and live in São Paulo. Luca is 10-years-old, Isabella is 7. Now it’s hard for me to leave them, so I’m not looking for specific tasks. And I have to study, understand the mechanisms of a work that is new for me. I will take the course to become a Sporting Director in Brazil and as soon as possible I will attend the coaching course in Coverciano, but only to complete myself.
“If I see myself on the field as a coach? In truth, no. I see myself more like a director, like Leonardo. What has led Leonardo to Milan? Experience, international contacts with FIFA, UEFA, with big clubs… Leo has done everything, he’s travelled the world. He is intelligent and he knows the world of communication well. He knows how to manage an important team.
“What can Maldini add the new Rossoneri management? Paolo is history, he’s a symbol. In the world, if we talk about Milan then we talk about Paolo, and vice-versa. Paolo is fidelity. I don’t want to say anything about the previous management, with whom there was some contact, but this one has something different, because this management has rediscovered the Rossoneri DNA. It has brought back the characteristics of the club, the sense of belonging. Leo, Paolo, who came back, and Gattuso who remained on the bench. Rino is the one who brings the grit, he has the spirit of those who don’t give up. It was like this when he played and it’s the same as a coach. And it helps a lot.
“This Milan? It’s a team that is seriously trying to take back its place in ‘big football’. And it will not be necessary to neglect the Europa League: when the teams eliminated from the Champions League arrive, it will be a very fascinating tournament and winning it could be fundamental.
“Milan was used to other things in Europe? I know and I understand the fans, I’m one of them. But the first goal is to start being successful, and after winning [the Europa League] there is the European Super Cup; think of Atletico beating Real Madrid, never say never.
“If Milan can win the Scudetto? The ideal thing is to imagine returning immediately to the Champions League, the goal, from a rational point of view, must be that. Juventus have a lot of quality, they’re used to winning and have organization. On paper, they are the strongest team in the league, there are no discussions, but then many things can happen and thinking big is in the DNA of the club.
“If Cristiano’s Juve is not unbeatable? Football is an unpredictable game. Juventus is ahead of all, but talking about Milan, I think for example that the thrust of fans who have found pride can be a decisive factor to climb in the hierarchies. The goal is to rebuild, but it’d be great to win immediately.
“What Cristiano Ronaldo is like? For Italian football, it’s great to have him, he provides visibility, sponsors, and media interest all over the world. No, the ‘Champions’, if they have a chance to come and play in Serie A, then they’ll think about it.
“Cristiano brings a lot of things to the Italian football system as a whole, not just to Juve. Ronaldo’s image could harm his teammates in the long run? It can happen, but I’m used to looking at the bright side. It is great playing with him, even if it’s challenging as Cristiano is very competitive and wants to always win. The years I experienced in Madrid were intense and positive, I’m very attached to him.
“They say he’s the type who acts like the star is in the locker room? Absolutely not. At the start [at Real Madrid in 2009], there was a group of those who spoke Portuguese: Pepe, Marcelo and then me and Cristiano. We did fine. Cristiano is very friendly, very sociable. He brings energy and Juventus have done very well to get him. Also because, with the maniacal care he has of his body and his professionalism, he will be able to stay on top for many years.
“To whom would I give the Ballon d’Or, as I’m the last to win it before the Ronaldo-Messi domination? The World Cup has just ended and the achievement of France remains in my eyes. Kylian Mbappé is very strong and has his all career ahead of him. The future is probably his, but for now I always vote for one of the big 2, also because so everyone will continue to remember that I won in 2007 before the duopoly began! But seriously, if I can have another name, I’ll say Luka Modrić. In this year he had impressive results: he won the Champions League again and he played the World Cup final with Croatia. He’s a man who creates the show, commands the game. He could’ve played at Inter and made Serie A even more interesting? I don’t know about that, but Serie A is still very interesting as it is.
“If Juventus will finish first and Milan second this season? As a Milanista, I always say the opposite. Juventus remain an example for how they climbed back: they recovered from the season in Serie B, built the stadium, won many Scudetti and played in 2 Champions League finals. The other Italian clubs now have to ride the wave produced by the signing of a Champion like Ronaldo.
“If Juve can aim to win the Champions League? They are one of the favorites, but there are always Real Madrid, Barcelona and PSG that are getting stronger with a growing Mbappé. At the World Cup we saw what this young boy can do. Juventus in any case remain of the tournament’s protagonists.
“It’s a milestone that remains distant for Milan? But you have to start again from somewhere, and Milan has taken the right path. I don’t know exactly what Maldini will do at the club, he will probably have a role similar to Leonardo’s, but I’m sure that the agreement between the two will work.
“Where do I see myself at Milan? I have no idea. As I said, for the moment I want to stay with my family in Brazil and I can’t image a precise job commitment. I’m coming to Italy in this period for personal reasons, so I will take the opportunity to feel the ground. I will be at San Siro as a fan, but it’s obvious that in the future I would like to do more for Milan. It’s a matter of time.”
Kaka is one of the most popular Milan players in history: he was brought to the club in 2003 and then again in 2013; he spent 7 years wearing the Rossoneri colors, scoring 104 goals in 307 appearances.