Ronaldo, Real Madrid Put On Show In Front Of Nearly 50,000 At Yankee Stadium
NEW YORK (AP) — Kaka showed why AC Milan wants him back from Real Madrid.
Kaka had three assists against his former team, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a pair of second-half goals and Real Madrid routed Milan 5-1 at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night in an exhibition between two of Europe’s most successful clubs.
“I’m happy to keep and I’m happy to sell if he wants to go, because a player must be happy,” Madrid coach Jose Mourinho said. “If he stays, perfect for me. If he decides that the best thing for him is to go, Real Madrid will try, we will try to help. But nobody gets a diamond for free. You want a diamond, you pay for it.”
With top executives from both clubs in New York, there was intrigue involving the midfielder, the 2007 FIFA Player of the Year. Milan CEO Adriano Galliani hugged Madrid President Florentino Perez on the field before warmups, then exchanged greetings with Mourinho. Now 30, Kaka has been largely a backup at Madrid and appears to want to return to Italy — especially with Real Madrid in talks to acquire midfielder Luka Modric from Tottenham.
Purchased by Milan from Sao Paulo at age 21 in 2003, Kaka became a star with Milan and scored 95 goals in 269 games over six seasons. Madrid bought him in the summer of 2009 for 65 million euros (then $93.5 million) and he has struggled with injuries since. He has 24 goals in 92 games for Los Blancos.
Kaka entered in the 62nd minute and assisted on Madrid’s final three goals.
“The market is still open until Aug. 31st,” Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri said through a translator. “We didn’t discover Kaka only this night. So we know about Kaka.”
Angel Di Maria opened the scoring with a spectacular 25-yard volley in the 24th, but Robinho tied it nine minutes later with one of the few attempts on goal by Milan, a seven-time European champion depleted by summer departures and retirements.
Ronaldo, the 2008 FIFA Player of the Year, finished crisp passes with quick bursts of speed in the 49th and 66th minutes, the latter off a pass from Kaka. Sergio Ramos made it 4-1 with a header following Kaka’s corner kick in the 81st and Jose Callejon added the final goal off Kaka’s chip in the 89th.
Real Madrid, a nine-time European champion, outshot Milan 27-8, had 64 percent possession and a 13-5 margin in corner kicks, including 9-0 in the first half.
Owned by former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi, Milan has turned over its roster in startling fashion, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Alessandro Nesta, Clarence Seedorf, Gennaro Gattuso, Filippo Inzaghi and Mark Van Bommel all departing. Midfielder Riccardo Montolivo was the only big addition before defender Cristian Zappata was obtained Wednesday on a loan from Spain’s Villarreal.
“There is a big gap between us and Real Madrid for the time being,” Allegri said.
Los Merengues scored the first goal when Mesut Oezil’s corner kick was punched out by Christian Abbiati straight to Di Maria, whose volley might have grazed the goalkeeper’s fingertips on its way in.
Milan tied it after Antonio Cassano made a quick pass to Antonio Nocerino, who sent a backheel pass to Robinho. He side-footed the ball in from 10 yards, then ran and kissed a fan’s hand in the first row.
Ronaldo, cheered loudly by the crowd of 49,474, had played only half of other preseason games but stayed in this one until the 80th.
“Lots of magic here, and I think we did what the stadium deserved, what Yankee history deserves.” Mourinho said, comparing the venue to his home stadium. “If I have this kind of crowd, so enthusiastic crowd in the Bernabeu, I don’t lose a match in the Bernabeu.”
NOTES: Real Madrid, eliminated by Bayern Munich in last season’s Champions League semifinals, opens the La Liga season Aug. 19 at home against Valencia. Milan starts Serie A on Aug. 26 at home against promoted Sampdoria. … Injured Yankees closer Mariano Rivera conducted the pregame coin flip, as he did when Chelsea played Paris Saint-Germain last month. The public address system played Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.”
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