LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 16: Kaka #7 of Real Madrid pushes Juninho #19 of Los Angeles Galaxy during the Herbalife World Challenge 2011 friendly soccer game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on July 16, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Yesterday, Josh wrote a very interesting piece about why he "thinks" Kaká won't make a big impact for los blancos this coming season: in "response," I'm writing this piece about why Kaká will have a big impact on Real Madrid's season. (The truth is, though, that neither of us are particularly decided on this issue: I think Josh's article made some really important points, and, he's "personally rather undecided on the issue.")
There's no doubt that there are myriad non-sporting reasons to keep Kaká: as Josh pointed out, he brings in tons of money because of his marketability (he's the face of FIFA 11, possibly FIFA 12, and is prominently featured on the Real Madrid website's store)--he's wildly popular throughout the world, and his presence allows Madrid to grow its' brand internationally. Plus, there's a 0% chance that Madrid will be able to recoup even a third of his original value on a transfer.
But that's not what this "debate" is about. Here are some reasons why I think Kaká will help the 2011-2012 incarnation of the Real Moudrid:
- Injuries: This might seem like an odd place to start, but it's actually one of the most important things to discuss in relation to Ricardo's possible impact on los blancos. In general, it takes a very long time to recover from the surgery that he underwent last season--like a very long time. I wrote an article in March about why Kaká shouldn't start over Özil (I was getting a lot of flak about this then), in which I referenced other players with similar injuries that took over a year to fully return. The point that I mean to showcase now is that Kaká might still be recovering from that injury--New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady had a similar operation and wasn't the same player for more than a year and a half. But he did return to his original form, and it's very possible that Kaká will also. If he does, he could be a very important part of Mourinho's 2011-2012 Madrid.
- Adaptability: I fervently believe that Mourinho will help Kaká adapt to his new formation. It's possible that Kaká's style won't work with Mourinho's tactical setup (as Josh mentioned), but it's also possible that Mourinho will be able to work with the Brazilian playmaker and teach him how to adapt to his new digs--something that he didn't have time to do last season because of how late Kaká joined the side.
- Super-sub: Even if he can't adapt to the new style, he could still play a very important role for Mourinho's 2011-2012 Real Madrid--he could come in in the middle of the second half to add a playmaking punch and spell Mesut Özil (who hasn't shown a consistent ability to play 90 minutes at a high level). Admittedly, having a player of Kaká's quality on the bench is a luxury that very few clubs can afford--but hey, this is Real Madrid! A fresh Kaká in the waning minutes of a big match could bring huge dividends for los blancos.
- Recouping value: So even if everything else falls through, having Kaká for a whole season (without his succumbing to injury again) could at least drive up his value for a future transfer. He'd certainly start many games for Madrid (even if they're not important), and he'll no doubt play well--this could, at the very very least drive up his value again, so Madrid could recoup some of the money from his transfer. Instead of selling him to Chelsea for €25 million, a full season of health could drive him back up to €35 or 40 million.
Anything you think I forgot? Let me hear it in the comments. These two articles weren't supposed to end the debate about Kaká, but rather to start one here. So, Managing Madrid, what do you think?