Another transfer deadline has passed and another wave of stories predicting that waning superstar Ricardo 'Kaka' Izecson will be moved from Real Madrid to another club washed ashore like the frothy gossip that it was.
What's a fact is that Kaka has lost two thirds (49 million euros) of his market value since moving to Madrid in 2009 on a 67 million euro transfer from Silvio Berlusconi's AC Milan.
Chief executive Adriano Galliani of AC Milan has indicated that Real offered the 30 year old Kaka to the rossoneri for just 18 million euros. But Berlusconi didn't come back for the tag and instead picked up powerful finisher Mario Balotelli from Manchester City for 19 million.
There was buzz that a last minute offer from Dagastani side Anzhi might be in the cards. But Kaka's Twitter site - with 14.2 million followers - was silent on the prospect of yet another Brazilian star playing third world football in a dangerous baksheesh republic.
The scenario was filled out by talk that Roman Abramovich wanted Kaka with Chelski.
Last month, when Berlusconi was buffing his image by calling out racism in the Serie A, the Brazilan-born Kaka - who received his Italian citizenship papers in a ceremony conducted by Berlusconi himself - broadcast an oblique message on his Twitter site expressing solidarity with his black brothers.
Just a few months before that Kaka's wife was telling the media how eager she was for her husband to return to Sao Paulo FC, where his childhood football epiphany took on global dimensions. But that was yet another phantom deal.
It followed the offer from the LA Galaxy, who were seeking a big name to replace David Beckham. While the money wasn't what Real wanted Kaka did comment that the prospect of being transferred from La Liga to the North American Soccer League (NASL) was tantamount to playing third world football.
Of all the suitors, Galaxy owner Phil Anschutz would have provided the best home for one of the most esteemed role model poster boys in the sports world. The benevolent billionaire whose AEG entertainment is the world's largest owners of sports teams and sports events, holds many of the same evangelical Christian values that Kaka has propagated.
But Kaka having the hand of god on his side hasn't diminished questions about his durability on the pitch that developed even before the August 2010 knee surgery that was by performed by Dr. Mark Martens.
Kevin Garside of the Telegraph has long suggested that Kaka's first season with Real was already "eroded by injury."
Selected as a playmaker who could provide team leadership by the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) and then-manager Carlos Dunga, Kaka played hurt for the Samba Boys in the 2010 FIFA South Africa World Cup. He showed few signs of his greatness as Brazil crashed out in the quarterfinals.
The Guardian tagged his performance as "lacklustre."
Dr. Martens said Kaka risked ending his career playing hurt during the tournament. But Kaka counterattacked, telling ESPN that the renowned orthopedic surgeon overstated the serious of the his knee problems. Although his market value on the field has declined sharply Kaka still has lucrative endorsement relationships with Adidas and Georgio Armani.
Kaka's future remains very much in the hands of Real's resident martinet, manager Jose Mourinho. The former Chelski field general has consistently feigned support for his high priced bench jockey while conducting internecine warfare against the midfielder's reputation.
The question that nobody is asking meanwhile is whether Kaka and his friend Cristiano Ronaldo are working quietly behind the scenes so that Real ownership finally decides its time for a new broom at the Bernabeu.
Mourinho is up front about Kaka, saying that los blancos have never seen the real Kaka and that it would be best for him to find another team. But once again there are no takers.
Kaka's frustration with Mourinho is now starting to override his good Christian principles and show up on the pitch.
After Mourinho subsituted him into a recent league game at the 60 minute mark with the expectation that his skills could generate a goal in what was a tough tackling draw, Real's 67 million euro man quickly drew two yellow cards for thug behaviour. The resulting January 12th away league tie against cellar dwellers Osasuna dimmed Real's chances for a La Liga championship and marked the first time Kaka was red carded out of a game since joining Real in 2009.
In spite of it all 79% of those who responded to a Bleacher Report poll still think Kaka deserves a spot on Brazil's national team. If he fails to show more in serious competition he could get tagged by Brazilian sports and gossip magazines as a cricri, a whiner.
Kaka was not capped for Wednesday's Brazil-England match at Wembley. But if his popularity continues to hold, Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari could face the same pressure to include Kaka on the squad as owners in the National Football League in the United States have encountered with another popular Christian athlete who posesses questionable skillsets, quarterback Tim Tebow.
The Kaka drama has been unfolding for three years and has taken on the psychosocial dynamics of a telenovela- repetitive, addictive and triste.
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