Matter of time and money for Kaka deal

MORRIS DALLA COSTA

, Last Updated: 10:30 AM ET

A. C. Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi is thrilled he managed to retain Kaka at Milan.

Even though a deal to sell the Brazilian superstar for 100 million pounds to Manchester City appeared to be a done deal. No one except Milan will ever know exactly what happened for the deal to be nixed. Public comments are for public consumption and need not be believed.

Supposedly, Kaka had a great deal to do with the deal falling through, even though he was reportedly being offered 500,000 pounds a week to play.

The feeling is despite City's effort to lure him, Kaka wasn't willing to go to a team that as yet isn't competitive enough to have an impact in the Premier League and in Europe.

You can have bags and bags of cash to spend, but a team has to be competitive first before the top players in the world hitch their wagon to the horse.

No matter what happened to nix the deal, Kaka is the new Cristiano Ronaldo. Every week, another rumour will surface about suitors looking to sign him.

Berlusconi blathered on in delirium about how good triumphed over greed, how Kaka's love of Milan kept him in town.

Be wary of premature exultation.

During the next year, soccer will be turned on its head, especially in the big-money leagues such as the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A. The world economic crisis will open the door for some teams and slam the door for others.

No one is certain what the next year holds for soccer, but it will be tumultuous.

Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett will be forced to sell the team by July because the club's 350-million pound debt won't be refinanced by the bank. They are talking to the Al-Kharafi family, one of Kuwait's richest families.

With the influx of Mideast money in England and continuing rumours that even more foreign investors are looking at buying European teams, the buying frenzy will go off the charts.

The money these investors can throw around is scary. The offer made to Kaka has forced Europe's top football clubs and UEFA to hold preliminary discussions on putting a cap on the amount of money that can be spent on player transfers or wages.

What a battle that will be.

Milan has barely fended off Manchester City and by all accounts, Real Madrid has already come calling for Kaka.

They have money, probably not as much as Manchester City, but enough of it. They also have something Manchester City doesn't have -- world recognition and a competitive team always in the hunt for a berth in Europe.

Madrid is also in the midst of prepping for summer elections of a new president since their old one was tossed out for vote rigging. In an odd system that's foreign in North America, individuals run for the presidency of Real Madrid. Their hope of being elected often comes down to their promises to bring big names and victory to the team.

Florentino Perez has already promised he would go after Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger and Kaka (Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, too, depending on what you hear).

Perez was the president of Real Madrid between 2000 and 2006. He won the presidency by promising to sign Luis Figo from rivals Barcelona and he did.

Madrid will come after Kaka because he will be more receptive of Madrid than City. Look at how close he came to leaving this time around.

One thing is certain, Milan needs to continue to win to make it back to the European Champions League or it will have one less bargaining chip when another high-profile team comes knocking.


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