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Kaká ready for Madrid challenge

Real Madrid CF have signed Brazilian international Kaká from AC Milan in a reported €68m deal.

Six-year contract
The 27-year-old has agreed a contract running until 2015 with his arrival following the appointment of former Villarreal CF coach Manuel Pellegrini by returning Madrid president Florentino Pérez on 1 June. Kaká, who joined Milan from São Paulo FC in 2003 and went on to score 95 goals in 270 competitive appearances, said he was leaving the Rossoneri on good terms: “I’d like to offer my thanks to Milan because they were the club who launched me on to the international stage. They gave me the opportunity to become one of the big players in Europe. I’m leaving by the front door.”

‘New motivation’
A 2002 FIFA World Cup winner with Brazil, for whom he has been capped 64 times, Kaká passed a medical earlier on Monday in Recife where the national team are preparing for a home World Cup qualifier against Paraguay on Wednesday. “I’ve won everything that I wanted as a player and this is a new motivation for me,” he said. “The president at Real Madrid is preparing a very competitive team which will be looking to try to become champions of Spain and Europe once again; that’s why I chose them.”

Final in Madrid
The Santiago Bernabéu faithful will now be hoping the attacking midfield player can help the club wrest the Liga title back from FC Barcelona while also challenging for a tenth European Champion Clubs’ Cup – especially with the 2009/10 final to be played in the Spanish capital. A Scudetto winner in 2004, Kaká won the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in 2007 while also being named UEFA Club Footballer of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year.

Group stage
The reported fee of €68m would make Kaká’s move the second biggest transfer ever with Zinédine Zidane’s €73m switch from Juventus to Madrid in 2001 still holding the all-time record. Both Madrid and Milan will begin the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League in the group stage.