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Kaka's decisive kicks put AC Milan in final

Kaka's decisive kicks put AC Milan in final

Kaka did enough on his own to put AC Milan back into a familiar place _ the Champions League final.
The Brazil playmaker scored the first goal _ his 10th in the competition this season _ in Milan's 3-0 win over Manchester United on Wednesday in the second leg of the Champions League semifinals. He also scored two goals in the 3-2 loss to United last week at Old Trafford.
"Scoring two goals in the final and becoming the all-time leading scorer would be the ultimate," said Kaka, who still can match Ruud Van Nistelrooy's tournament record of 12 goals scored in 2002-03.
With the departure of Andriy Shevchenko to Chelsea before this season and Ronaldo unable to compete because he has already played in the competition for Real Madrid, Kaka has been thrust from a playmaker into a scorer.
"I'm trying to do things that forwards do and it's going well," Kaka said. "When you're a playmaker you try to make assists. As a striker, the last ball is mine. I'm learning."
Even Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti has trouble describing Kaka's exact position.
"He's scored 10 goals, so he's the strongest striker in the Champions League," Ancelotti said.
The 25-year-old Kaka, whose full name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, had some help Wednesday with Clarence Seedorf and Alberto Gilardino adding to the score to give Milan a 5-3 win on aggregate.
Still, Kaka is the man drawing all the attention.
"He seems like a little kid having fun scoring goals against the English," said Luigi Riva, Italy's all-time leading scorer with 35 goals. "I can only use one word: extraordinary. Kaka is a leader despite his young age. He's not affected by the fans and doesn't show any stress."
In the final, Milan will get another chance to beat Liverpool. The Italian team led Liverpool at halftime in the 2005 final, but the English team scored three goals in the second half and then won on penalties.
In 2003, Milan won its sixth European Cup title by beating Juventus on penalties, but that was a few months before Kaka joined the team from Sao Paulo.
On Wednesday, Kaka gave Milan the lead in the 11th minute after collecting a header from Seedorf and sending an angled drive from inside the penalty area past United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar.
Jose Altafini, a former Milan player who is third on the Serie A's all-time scoring list with 216 goals, said Kaka has no equal.
"Cristiano Ronaldo is faster but Kaka is more skillful. He's a more complete player," Altafini said.
Despite rumors that Kaka could leave Milan for Real Madrid, club president Silvio Berlusconi said the Brazilian would stay in Italy.
"Milan will not allow Kaka to go to any other destination," Berlusconi said. "Kaka is in love with Milan. He's the good boy every father would want as a son."


Updated : 2021-07-28 02:18 GMT+08:00