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Legend
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Enjoy!:)

A couple of mistakes in that article, let us see who can spot them...;):tongue:

FORZA KAKA!!!:star::cool:

http://msnbc.msn.com/Default.aspx?id=3771245&p1=0

The Beauty of The Game

KAKA: One of a long line of Brazilian prodigies, or a true rival to Ronaldo? AC Milan's young star may be both—and one of Brazil's best hopes for winning another World Cup

By Mac Margolis
Newsweek International

Dec. 29/Jan. 5 issue - In august, when the Italian football club AC Milan signed a floppy-haired Brazilian kid named Kaka, no one was especially surprised. Sure, the 8.2 million transfer price the Italians shelled out for the player raised eyebrows: that's the sort of deal that only truly gifted athletes can land. But every year scores of fuzzy-cheeked football prodigies from South America are so chosen by big-money European and Asian clubs, plucked like green fruit on the promise that they will mature and bring good fortune.

It doesn't always turn out that way. Even for the splendid Brazilians, who have won five World Cups and put football on a nickname basis, the magic that wows the homeland can often turn out to be an optical illusion abroad. For every Ronaldo, a.k.a. the Phenomenon, there is a Denilson, the flashy winger who flopped in Spain. So the football establishment wasn't exactly holding its breath when Ricardo Izecson Santos Leite, or Kaka, was hired. After all, the 21-year-old rookie midfielder arrived in Milan at the same time his famous compatriot Rivaldo was benched by coach Carlo Ancelotti for lackluster play. Would Kaka survive on the predatory, high-stakes fields of Europe?

Silly question. Almost from the moment he stepped onto Italian grass, Kaka demonstrated uncanny poise and vision, plus a sixth sense for finding the open man or the enemy net. While other beginners are star struck and try to dazzle the fans, often with poor results, Kaka has been a model of discipline and teamwork. In a matter of weeks, the loping midfielder had captured a spot on AC Milan's starting roster, helping to lift the club to the No. 2 position in Italy's grueling top division. Unlike many Brazilians, Kaka is tall (standing 1.83 meters)—and, thanks to extra hours at the gym, also tough. He has the speed and balance of a striker packed into the body of a defender. While he may not be a ball-handling wizard, he passes with machine-tool precision. Already he is being compared to football legends like France's Michel Platini and Italian hero Francesco Totti. Some enthusiasts even brand him Phenomenon II, in homage to Ronaldo.

The son of an engineer and a school-teacher in middle-class Brasilia, Kaka did not kick his way out of the slums, like so many of Brazil's star players. But he has been quietly building a reputation for years, first in the Brazilian juniors and then, in 2000, when he debuted with the So Paulo Football Club, one of Brazil's best. In 2002, at 19, he became the youngest Brazilian ever to suit up for a World Cup. Eduardo Goncalves de Andrade, the great Tosto, who played alongside Pele during the glorious '60s and '70s, has been keeping up with Kaka since his adolescence. "He was slight and not so creative, and didn't have the raw talent of some of his teammates, but I felt he would go far," says Tosto, who is now a popular football commentator and newspaper columnist. "Of all the talented young Brazilians playing overseas, Kaka may have the brightest future."

Ever since Pele retired, Brazilians have pined for a successor: another pint-size prince who outwits bigger and stronger opponents with speed and cheek and the patented Brazilian sleight of foot. Kaka is different, and not just because of his stature and strength. "He has his head on his shoulders," says Juca Kfouri, Brazil's leading sports commentator. That quality may prove especially valuable as the pressure grows on Brazil in its bid for an unprecedented sixth World Cup in 2006.

Kaka has not always been loved. When So Paulo was eliminated from the Brazilian championship in 2003, he drew boos. Yet what is the fury of fans if not the flip side of veneration? Brazil's female fans are happy to provide the latter. Whenever the prodigal playmaker returns home to Brazil, they mob the airport, often just to get a glimpse of the hunky lad with the hedge of hair and the take-me-home face. They don't call it the beautiful game for nothing.

© 2003 Newsweek, Inc.
 

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Tosto? He's talking about Tostao I guess?? :howler:
 
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