AC Milan’s former midfield maestro Kaka remains subject to criticism by Real Madrid fans. Kaka is living in Cristiano Ronaldo’s shadow in his first year with the Spanish giants.
The Brazilian national has yet to live up to people’s expectations since moving to Real Madrid for a fee of about 65 million euros.
Kaka has blamed his low level of performance on his long-term hernia problem. However, this cause seems to appear as an excuse to a majority of Real Madrid fans, who believe that the number eight shirt-holder is enjoying the money at the club without pouring a single drop of sweat.
Aren’t they making wrong impressions about the real condition of the 2009 Confederations Cup winner? Shouldn’t Kaka receive strong support from Madridistas to come out from the dark?
Kaka's hernia injury
Real Madrid supporters became anxious when news broke that Kaka had a hernia. Prior to undergoing extensive tests, Kaka was the subject of much speculation as to whether or not his football career was over.
Fortunately, medical reports explained that the Brazilian would be able to pursue his profession as a Blanco after recovery.
In reality, this news wasn’t as relieving as it sounded. Kaka’s life has changed much since then.
Sports—football, especially — have become the 27-year-old’s addiction, not at a psychological level but at a physical level, which makes it all the more alarming. Kaka’s life will actually be under the threat of death should he stop playing.
One can imagine how stressful the life of this family man and father has become at a personal level. As a professional, Kaka also has to think about getting back into the great form he was once in, all in order to please his club Real Madrid and its demanding fans.
There is a feeling that supporters of Real Madrid don’t understand the difficult situation that the FIFA World Player of the Year is presently facing.
Shouldn't they be rallying behind Kaka and offer him immense support as he tries to find back full fitness?
For Real Madrid’s director Jorge Valdano, the answer is "YES:"
“Kaka has been working morning, afternoon and night. The criticism on him has been unfair. Kaka has strong religious beliefs; however, that has nothing to do with his delayed recovery. We should all respect that instead of criticizing him.”
Is Kaka playing the lazy lad?
Those who criticize Kaka are persuaded that the Brazilian is being lazy and unfaithful to the promise he made when he arrived at the club for an astronomical amount of money. Real Madrid fans want to see Kaka scoring goals despite not being a striker.
They want to watch him command the midfield zone on the field and inspire Los Blancos to victories. Kaka has not been able to do those things on a consistent basis so far this season, and his failure makes people believe that he is not good enough in reality.
Eventually, critics began to assume that Kaka is happier being on the sidelines, where he can escape the heavy responsibilities created by Real Madrid's excessive desire to be successful.
Consider Real Madrid’s UEFA Champions League exit against Lyon at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Polls on various websites showed that voters blamed Gonzalo Higuain’s selfish performance and Manuel Pellegrini’s squad and substitutions choices for the defeat. Only few pointed their finger at Kaka, who started that match.
In any case, the Real Madrid midfielder has been making his own defense in front of the media, and has assured them that he is on his way to better playing. A statement he made this week revealed his frustration at this point in his career.
“I have lived many years in the world of football, but the worst moment has been when people doubted my injury.”
In the end
Kaka momentarily silenced his critics with a vital 82nd win for Real Madrid against Real Zaragoza on Match-day 34 of La Liga.
Four important league games remain before the Spanish Primera Division ends. Real Madrid is determined not to give in to the pressure caused by current leader Barcelona.
So what happens if/when Kaka ultimately emerges as the savior for Real Madrid? Will such an achievement transform fan insults into apologies and praises?
As of now, it seems that some Real Madrid fans don’t appreciate Kaka for his talent and potential, but only for the contribution he has (of late) been giving to the club.