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Madrid signs Kaka from AC Milan

REAL Madrid have announced the signing of Brazil international Kaka from AC Milan.

Madrid gave no financial details but reports late yesterday said the Spanish club will pay Milan €65 million (US$92 million) for the attacking midfielder, making it one of the richest deals in football history.

The largest previous transfer was set by Zinedine Zidane when he joined Madrid from Juventus for USUS$65 million in 2001.

Milan also confirmed Kaka's transfer to Madrid on its Web site.

Kaka, who passed a medical in the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife earlier yesterday, has signed a six-year contract.

"Kaka is one of the players that every team would like to have and Madrid had the chance to get him," Madrid president Florentino Perez told radio station Onda Cero just before the signing was announced.

The attacking midfielder is the first player to join Madrid since Perez regained the club presidency unopposed last week.

Perez has said he intends to revive his "galactico" policy which, as well as Zidane, attracted star players like David Beckham, Ronaldo and Luis Figo to Madrid earlier in the decade.

Kaka, who was the 2007 FIFA world player of the year, earlier this year turned down a world-record €100 million transfer to Manchester City last season.

Kaka, who is in Brazil with the national team for World Cup qualifiers and who will then travel to South Africa for the Confederations Cup, said before he left he was happy in Milan.

However, the size of Madrid's bid appears to have proved too good for Milan to turn down. Last week, Milan president Silvio Berlusconi and chairman Adriano Galliani said the club had made huge financial losses recently.

Madrid's interest in signing Kaka goes back some years. Former Madrid president Ramon Calderon pledged he would sign the player in 2006 when he was running for election.

Perez told Onda Cero that Madrid's pursuit of the 27-year-old Brazilian, whose real name is Ricardo Ezecson Dos Santos Leite, was aided by a collaboration agreement it has with Milan. Milan vice president Adriano Galliani was reportedly in the Spanish capital last Tuesday to pave the way for the deal, along with Kaka's father/manager Bosco Leite.

Perez is expected to attempt to sign several more top names for Madrid before the start of next season. Last week, he announced that Madrid would also be looking to land Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Perez is hoping to revive Madrid's fortunes after a poor season in which it failed to win any silverware while arch-rival Barcelona won the Champions League and the league and cup double. Nine-time European champion Madrid has not reached the quarterfinals of Europe's top club competition in the past five seasons.

Last week, Madrid appointed Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, formerly of Villarreal, to replace Juande Ramos as coach.

The departure of Kaka, who won the Champions League with Milan in 2007 and the Italian league in 2004, came a week after the Italian club's coach Carlo Ancelotti left to take charge of Chelsea.


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