The Resurgence of Kaka: Milan Legend Back to His Best at San Siro

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 11, 2013

LIVORNO, ITALY - DECEMBER 07: Kaka' of AC Milan in action during the Serie A match between AS Livorno and AC Milan at Stadio Armando Picchi on December 7, 2013 in Livorno, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Kaka's blockbuster €65 million move from Milan to Real Madrid in 2009 was an unmitigated disaster, but moving back the other way has unlocked the inner genius once again.

The Brazilian's form has taken off since transferring back to San Siro on deadline day this summer, and while Milan fans' hopes that he could be their saviour haven't quite transpired, he has kick-started his own career and assumed the role of leader in an ailing giant.

There's a lot of work to be done—the Rossoneri are 14 points off the third and final Champions League spot in Serie A after 15 games—but Kaka is a man the team can rally behind, look up to and fight for.

He's a much more inspiring figure than the erratic, yet brilliant, Mario Balotelli.

MILAN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 23:  Kaka of AC Milan during the Serie A match between AC Milan and Genoa CFC at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on November 23, 2013 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Far from your classic No. 10, Kaka was always a consistent source of attacking fortune because of his ability to grab a game by the scruff of the neck.

He wouldn't wait to be brought into the game; he'd go and find the ball and drive at the heart of the opposing formation, striking fear into defenders and midfielders alike.

Injuries slowed him down badly with the Galacticos, and the system Jose Mourinho played never truly favoured his almost box-to-box style despite playing as a true attacking outlet.

Now, back at San Siro, Massimiliano Allegri has crafted his formation around the prodigious talent in an effort to get him back to his best.

Kaka will drop deep to find the ball, but has no defensive responsibility thanks to the three-man shield of Riccardo Montolivo, Nigel de Jong and Andrea Poli.

Milan have enough men committed to the defensive phase to free the reins on the Brazilian, and he's beginning to open his legs and do what he does best: score goals.

He was never a prolific assister—a large part of the argument against him being a traditional No. 10—and his mazy dribbles often resulted in him striking on goal rather than serving up others.

B/R Tighe

It's a rare breed, a different type of playmaker to the likes of Juan Roman Riquelme, and perhaps Henrikh Mkhitaryan is the man currently the most similar to Kaka at his best.

This style of play—this forceful effort to drive forward—is a method Milan can get behind and subscribe to; it can be a metaphor for the job they have to do in catching up to Napoli, Roma and Juventus.

Resting your hopes on a jack-in-the-box talent such as Balotelli was never a good plan, but rallying around Kaka—a man who gives his all in every game—is the perfect tonic.

The San Siro hero needs to pull out all the stops between now and the end of the season, and he'll be joined by reinforcements in January.

Can they pull off the impossible?


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