Why The Recall Of Kaka To Brazil Has Benefits
The Brazilian national team have a habit of recalling older superstars to their squads, as the return of Robinho for the Copa America demonstrated. This time however, arguably the biggest superstar (besides Ronaldinho Gaucho) has made a comeback. 2007 Balon D’Or winner Ricardo dos Santos Liete or Kaka has been called upon by coach Dunga to negotiate the Selecao through two tricky fixtures against Costa Rica and the USA.
The return of Robinho in the Copa America was largely in effective, despite his goal against Paraguay. The task of filling Neymar’s boots after the Captain received a four-match ban was always going to be too big for a player who is well past his best. Ronaldinho’s anticipated return was even less effective, with the biggest action being a missed penalty at Wembley back in 2013.
Kaka’s recall comes at a crucial time for Brazilian football. After being dumped out of the World Cup on their own turf by a rampant Germany hopes that a Copa America triumph might paper over the cracks were quickly dispelled by Paraguay. Coach Dunga added that Brazilian football needed to be rethought on and off the pitch, but more importantly “‘[Brazil] have to recognize that other nations have improved, and we must be humble and understand that it’s time to get to work. We know we have a lot of work ahead of us”. There has always been a sense of arrogance around the Brazilian team that success will be given to them, not as a result of hard work. These failings in the recent past have been a wake-up call that the whole federation needed.
Dunga believes that the Brazilian squad needs leaders, which is why Kaka’s recall is so important. In the last year we have seen him almost single-handedly lead Orlando City in what is an impressive debut season for the MLS club. On the pitch his productivity has not decreased despite his advancing years, registering 9 goals and 4 assists in 22 appearances this season. As Captain his off the pitch performances have been monitored closer than ever, and in the corporate football world of America his media showings have been exceptional.
The squad which has been assembled for the upcoming friendlies in September is comprised of 23 players, with 5 of those playing in the Brazilian Serie A, additionally 5 further players are uncapped and 3 players with less than 20 caps for the senior side. It is a group of players that are calling out for an experienced head to take them through two tricky fixtures. And without Thiago Silva and banned captain Neymar this is where Kaka comes in. Capped 89 times by Brazil to date they include three World Cup appearances one of which culminated in a tournament triumph. Domestically over 400 appearances have been registered at two of the worlds biggest clubs (Real Madrid and AC Milan), winning a host of honours. Missing out of the World Cup in his own country will serve as further inspiration.
Dunga believes he ‘cannot build with youngsters’ and controversially left Philippe Coutinho out of this squad, citing that he was disappointed with his performances. Installing Kaka back into the squad alongside Liverpool’s brightest player would have been the logical decision, but that would be to clever for Brazil who continue to take two steps back for every one taken forward. What is certain though, is that Kaka will provide a wealth of experience to a squad which greatly needs it, he will act as a fine example to follow and a player to look upon when the scoreline is not in Brazil’s favour.