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Could Kaka Rejuvenate World Cup Hopes with Sao Paulo Return?

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 20:  Kaka of Brazil in action during the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group G match between Brazil and Ivory Coast at Soccer City Stadium on June 20, 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Jerrad PetersWorld Football Staff WriterJuly 1, 2013

Luiz Felipe Scolari raised one or two eyebrows following Brazil’s Confederations Cup win over Spain when he suggested both Ronaldinho and Kaka could be recalled to the national team at some point ahead of next year’s World Cup.

The Selecao boss, who had overseen Brazil’s impressive 3-0 destruction of the world and European champions at the Maracana Sunday, told Italpress he would “keep an eye on every Brazilian player” over the next few months and refused to rule out a recall for the veteran pair, according to Chris Kvesa of Goal.com.

“I already have a good group, but I cannot promise any of them will be at the World Cup,” he said, adding, “I will do my analysis, and we are open to every great player.”

That Ronaldinho would still be in the mix for Brazil’s 23-man World Cup roster is hardly surprising, given his excellent run of form for Atletico Mineiro since January.

With four goals and six assists from 10 matches, he helped the Belo Horizonte side to the state championship in May and will lead his teammates into the first leg of their Copa Libertadores semifinal against Newell’s Old Boys Wednesday. In three Brasileiro appearances to start the league season, he has already found the back of the net twice.

Kaka, however, is another matter.

The 31-year-old started only 12 Primera Division matches for Real Madrid last season and was mostly unimpressive in the 27 appearances he made in all competitions. In fact, since joining the Spanish giants from AC Milan for €68.5 million in 2009, the one-time Brazil star has been world football’s most expensive disappointment, never once scoring more than eight goals in a single domestic campaign.

For a time it was thought he would rejoin the Rossoneri and play out the remainder of his career at the San Siro, but early last month Milan CEO Adriano Galliani threw cold water on the reports, telling Sky Sport Italia (h/t Sambafoot) that Kaka would not be returning to the club as he was too old.

Given that he enjoyed the best seasons of his career with incoming Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti while the two were still at Milan, a sudden revival of form cannot be ruled out. Having said that, Kaka has shown nothing the past four years that would suggest he is capable of revisiting the days of his prime when he was scoring goals, lifting trophies and winning the Ballon d’Or.

Which is why a move to Sao Paulo during the summer transfer window would seem to make sense for him.

It was at the Morumbi that Kaka got his first taste of professional football, and his 2002 season (in which he notched 23 goals in 48 matches in all competitions) convinced the Rossoneri to pay €8.5 million for his signature in 2003.

Ten years on, it looks as though things have come full circle for Kaka, and Monday, Spanish outlet Todox Deportes reported Madrid had accepted Sao Paulo’s €15 million offer for the attacker, according to the New York Post.

Assuming he would be granted regular football in Ney Franco’s side, a good run of performances would likely be enough to see him recalled to the Selecao, although with Scolari having already found his preferred XI the best-case scenario would likely see Kaka assume a bit-player’s role with Brazil.

Not that Scolari would have a problem with that. After all, there are worse players who could come off the bench.

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