Player v. Player: Ricardo Kaka v. Wesley Sneijder

Khalid KhanCorrespondent IAugust 7, 2009

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 25:  Kaka of Brazil is challenged by Kagisho Dikgacoi of South Africa during the FIFA Confederations Cup Semi Final match beween Brazil and South Africa at Ellis Park on June 25, 2009 in Johannesburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Comparatively Kaka is definitely a better player, but then Sneijder is also not that far behind in talent. Though Kaka’s place in the first team is assured, there is some speculation as to in which position he would play. Will he play in offensive midfield, second striker or even an advanced playmaker?

Kaka would be more suitable for as an advanced playmaker with his ball distribution skills, creative positioning, and passing but Manuel Pellegrini is not expected to try Kaka in that position (except perhaps as a mid-game change of tactics), because with Xabi Alonso being the creative defense playmaker, it will stifle natural instincts of both playmakers to the detriment of team’s performance while increasing vulnerabilities in defense.

The best option for Kaka would be in the offensive midfield behind strikers, creating goal-scoring opportunities for them with his assists, ball-control and game-reading abilities. His hard-work combined with his team-work attitude and lack of greed in front of goal makes him an ideal choice. But then nothing about playing position is certain for now by any measure.

Sneijder’s chances, in the current situation, of a first team place are virtually none. Despite being a second-best behind Kaka and once rumored to be on the way out, Sneijder will be working hard to wage a tough battle to win a place back in the first team ahead of Kaka. A daunting and sometimes frustrating task it will be for him.

If he can bring himself to it then perhaps he can play substitute to Xabi Alonso as well as a creative midfielder, in league and Copa del Rey to rest/replace tired/injured Alonso.

Sneijder will be a strong backup for Kaka with his versatility, passing, and dead-ball expertise. He is a product of the highly-rated Ajax academy, one of Europe’s best, and second most-expensively transferred Dutch player in history behind Ruud van Nistelrooy.

No one should get ahead of themselves and assume that just being behind Kaka in the pecking order would mean that Sneijder is finished. Many top teams around Europe would love to have a player of his ability on their team.