Five Players Real Madrid Needs to Step Up in Kaka's Absence
For a short period last summer Kaka was the most expensive player in the history of World Football.
One mediocre season at Real Madrid and a less than stellar World Cup followed by a major surgery has the world wondering what will become of one of the great midfielders of the past several years.
His injury will see him out for at least four months to be on the safe side and will leave Real Madrid without of their Galaticos.
The question becomes which players will step in and fill the void of the Brazilian playmaker and hopefully launch Real Madrid into glory for the first half of this term.
Off The Bench
Forced to the bench after the return to the Galatico ways of Perez last summer, Rafael Van Der Vaart has patiently awaited a return to the starting line-up.
While he probably did not want it to be because of a major injury to a fellow teammate, he is the only experienced playmaker on roster at the moment and it will more likely than not his position to lose once the season gets underway.
He showed very good form when he was on the pitch last season for Real Madrid and performed a similar role for his national side on the way to a runners-up medal this summer at the World Cup.
Look for Van Der Vaart to start under new manager Jose Mourinho; he is disciplined and has the playmaking skills required to be at the heart of a hopefully conquering engine.
Young Spanish sensation Sergio Canales recently made his debut with the Real Madrid first team during their pre-season run around the world.
An extremely gifted youngster, he may have to shoulder a much larger load than he originally thought when he first took the field for Los Blancos this summer.
Playing in place of a player that once conquered any and all opposing defenses is daunting enough; but with the limelight that comes with playing for the world's biggest club, only time will tell whether Sergio Canales can be the next big name at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Playing as one half of the "double-pivot" for Spain this summer, Xabi Alonso was welcomed back as a hero to the Spanish capital after their first ever World Cup victory.
While primarily a deep-lying playmaker, Alonso played a little higher on the pitch when partnered with a great defensive midfielder like Sergio Busquets.
With Real Madrid recently signing Sami Khedira, and having both Diaaras, Gago, and Granero, it looks like Xabi will have some extra freedom to roam the pitch and move forward.
The New Guy
Coming off an impressive World Cup run with Germany, Sami Khedira headed to Los Blancos as another part of the equation to conquer both the Primera and Europe.
Khedira played great defensively at the World Cup and will challenge for a starting spot at the rear of the midfield this coming season and hope to release teammates for wonderful goals with his excellent passing.
Khedira is also the type of player Mourinho loves: energetic, disciplined, and full of upside. Perhaps he can shape him into the player Madrid so foolishly gave away so many years earlier in Claude Makelele.
Ask Mourinho how grateful he was to have the "Smiling Assassin" on his Chelsea side and how giddy he must be to get a player that may one day reach the same level of greatness for Los Blancos.
Inheriting the number seven jersey from living legend Raul was the highlight of Ronaldo's last year.
Did he score a lot of goals for Real Madrid? Sure, plenty actually.
Did he make the highlight reels around the world? Every single game he played in.
Did he win anything? Not a single trophy.
Following up a trophy less first season at Real Madrid with a Portuguese team that had no intention of ever attacking outside of a few passes to his side of the field was an even bigger disappointment.
Ronaldo must now raise the level of his game to otherworldly levels now that his Galatico teammate is out.
Not only must he score goals, but he must take on some of the playmaking duties that Kaka. While not a great passer or set-up man, he has the talent and drive that it takes to fill the void and launch Real Madrid towards glory.