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Madrid finished the 2011-12 season as runaway Spanish champions, but were once again thwarted at the semifinal stage of the Champions League.
Kaka had enjoyed his most productive season at the club, but he was still not a guaranteed starter under Mourinho and his former club AC Milan were trying very hard to get him back.
ESPNFC quoted an August interview with Milan vice president Adriano Galliani in the Italian press, in which he claimed talks were already under way. Galliani said said they wanted Kaka on loan, but Madrid would only countenance a permanent deal.
Turkish club Galatasaray also staked their claim. "Our objective is to convince Kaka," said their president, Unal Aysal, in August, as per ESPNFC.
By that time, Kaka to the MLS had become a genuine possibility, after his agent Diogo Kotscho opened up to the New York Post about interest from New York Red Bulls. Said Kotscho:
We don't speak about negotiation even if it is or not rumour. What I can say to you right now is that Kaka have a dream to live in US and play in MLS. If isn't now, in the future probably he will join MLS.
When the Red Bulls signed Tim Cahill in July, a Kaka deal became impossible because their designated player quota was filled. The Post then went with the story that he was still keen, but a move to the MLS would have to wait until after World Cup 2014.
Unsurprisingly, it's around this time we also started to see talk of Kaka succeeding David Beckham as LA Galaxy's star attraction. Spanish newspaper AS took this line in August and their article was widely quoted.
By now, Mourinho was surely tired of answering the same question about his player. In August he admitted he wouldn't stand in the way of a deal taking Kaka away from Madrid.
"If Kaka stays I would be happy and I am happy if he wants to go," Mourinho said, as per the Guardian. "In football it is normal that the players play where they want."