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Kaká – the Real… interview

October 18, 2011
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When I saw that the interview clocked in at more than 53 minutes, I thought, madre mía (as Kaká himself says several times during the interview).  But luckily, Ricky speaks very slowly, so that’s why the interview was so long.  He also speaks very eloquently, gives thoughtful answers, and at times struggles to express himself in Spanish, though his Spanish is excellent.  My favorite parts of the interview are when he talks about the porcelain duck, how he proposed, and his annoying neighbor with his annoying dog.

What a lovely song, “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns, the song you chose to start this interview with.  Good evening, and welcome to RMTV.

Good evening, it’s a pleasure to be here.  This song is really lovely, and important for me.  It’s from the soundtrack to the movie Facing the Giants.  The lyrics of the song are great.  For me… I’m always listening to it because it motivates me a lot.

It talks about overcoming obstacles, fighting for what you want in life.  What is it that you want in life?  What do you believe in?

Yes, it talks a lot about that, about facing up to giants, all of that, and also about faith.  That’s what I believe, that faith is something that helps us a lot, I have a lot of faith in Jesus and I believe many of the things that have happened to me happened to strengthen my faith.

You have faith in Jesus, and the fans have faith in you.  I should confess something, that when we were preparing for this interview, and people found out that we were interviewing you, they didn’t stop sending messages via the web site, via Facebook, via twitter, they went crazy.  Why do you think people love you so, so much?

I don’t know.  But I believe it’s for some things that I’m able to transmit while playing football or doing interviews.  I manage to let people know, this is what I’m like, it’s not that I’m one person here and another there, and bit by bit, people find out.  But I’m very happy about this, because in the last two years or so, in football, things weren’t going too well for me, but people kept sending me messages, helping me in any way they could.  That makes me very happy, knowing that people love me so much.

We received thousands of messages, and I’m not exaggerating.  Messages of support, ones saying that you’re the best player in the world, ones saying that they have no doubt that you’ll be the best Kaká again, messages of affection and encouragement.  What is the best thing that a fan has said to you?

It’s hard to just choose one.  I’ve had difficult moments, with injuries… and those people who continued to say that no, we believe you’re going to triumph in this club, don’t worry, that this moment will pass… knowing that the people were by my side during my difficult moments was the best thing.

You mentioned that you’re the same whether you’re doing an interview, at home, with friends, at Valdebebas… what are you like?

I’m very sincere, honest, happy, and although I do have moments of sadness as well, I try to be happy.  My values are my family, friends, all of that.

And what do you like to see in those people who are close to you?

I think the same thing that I try to transmit, principally honesty, sincerity.  When you’re in football or somewhere at a very high level, people usually want to be with you for some motive, not just because they want to be with you.  When you go through these moments, you find out who really cares for you, who want to be by your side because they want to see you do well, they want to see Kaká triumphing.  So I was able to find out who my true friends were in these moments.

You enjoy playing football, you enjoy being with your family, what do you enjoy doing in life, what fills you as a person?

For sure football, playing football, training every day, although at times the concentraciones are difficult, but…

That’s something to discuss with the míster, no?

But when you take that away, you end up missing it, so it’s a bit contradictory.  Of course it’s better to be at home than in a concentración, but if you take that away… I spent six months without being called up, and by the end, I missed it.  Family, for sure, being with Carolina [Kaká calls his wife “Carolina” in this interview], my children.  Having children is incredible, because you get this feeling when they are born, an unconditional love.

Your parents also have an unconditional love for you.  What were you like as a child, that kid in São Paulo…

I was born in Brasilia, the capital, and I lived there until I was four.  Then I went to Cuiabá, another city in Brazil, and I lived there until I was seven.  Then I went to São Paulo, where I lived from the age of eight to 21.  And…

And what was your neighborhood like?  We each have one…

I believe it’s São Paulo, because I was very young when I lived in Brasilia, and I only lived for three years in Cuiabá.  So, my childhood really took place in São Paulo.  But I always go back to Brasilia, my family still lives there, my grandparents, uncles, everyone.  I have a very special affection for Brasilia, but São Paulo was where I began playing, where most of my memories took place, so… everything happened there.

What was the street where your house was located like?

I lived in two different houses in São Paulo.  When we first got there, we didn’t know anything about the city, since it’s so big.  After one year, we changed houses and we went to live close to the stadium of São Paulo.  And after that, I joined the club, and played football and enjoyed myself.  Things became more serious and I began to play as a professional.

Your father is a civil engineer and your mother is a teacher, if I’m not mistaken.

Yes, perfect.

You come from a more or less well-off family.  Everyone knows that in Brazil, there are many problems, that there’s a lot of poverty, but you didn’t have that.

It’s different, because in Brazil, the football players normally come from the favelas, they have very few opportunities in terms of schooling, so they want to become football players.  I wanted to be a footballer, but I came from a family that… my father always worked, a middle-class family.  Later on, my mother stopped working because she was always with me, and my brother, but my father always provided for us.  So I have to thank my father because he always provided well for my family, he worked hard, as a man he’s a great example for me.  Everything he’s done… and later on, when I began playing, it was never a problem for me to come from a middle-class family, because I would bring my teammates to my house.  They came from all over Brazil, and they spent six or eight months without being able to go home, so during weekends I would take them home with me to spend time with my family.  It was a great experience.

[This man has a heart of gold.]

You’ve always said the biggest reference in your life has been your father, what was the best advice he gave you?

The best advice he gave me wasn’t with words, it was with gestures and actions.  My father was always a great example for me and for my brother, because he always looked to do the right thing, he was always honest and sincere, always with these values.

Your brother Rodrigo, Digão, was the one who gave you the nickname of Kaká, because he had problems pronouncing “Ricardo.”

Yes, when we were small, he couldn’t pronounce “Ricardo,” so he always said “Kaká, Kaká.”  That name stuck… it’s his fault.

He also plays football.

Yes, he also plays football, he also started with São Paulo and then he went to Milan, he played a bit there and then he played for other teams in Italy, last year he played for Penafiel in Portugal.  He is a footballer as well.

Is it difficult for a pair of brothers to have one that made it further than the other?

Well, in this…

It’s a bit unjust, no?  Both of you start, then circumstances in life brings one to a different level, not because one is better than the other.  Is it difficult for one to be theoretically at a higher level than the other?  [I wish Óscar would stop interrupting Kaká!]

Yes, but Rodri… Digão was always very mature with this.  That made me very happy, because he could say, I don’t want to be known as the brother of Kaká, I want to have my own life, do my own thing… But we never had… well, we of course had those normal fights when we were kids, but later on, when we learned how to be good people, we learned to… we have a great relationship.  It’s clear that for him, it’s hard to be the brother of Kaká and all that, but he has the maturity to deal with all of that and that makes me very happy.

What was your room like when you were growing up?

My brother and I shared a room, we also had a TV room, my parents’ bedroom, a hallway, the living room, the dining room, the kitchen here… that was the apartment where we lived.  My brother and I would always fight over what to watch on TV.  That was the apartment, and later on we got a dog.

One more member of the family.

One more member of the family.  That’s where we were, and happy.

Did you have posters of footballers in your room?

No posters, but many, many videogames.  My brother and I always played, always, a lot.

When was the last time you returned to that house, that neighborhood?

I think the house… the neighborhood not too long ago, since my parents still live there in Brazil, but the house, more or less six years ago.

What are some of the unforgettable memories associated with that house?

I will never forget this house, because it was there where I played with my brother, it was there where everything started.  I lived there for many years, so I will never forget this house.

And that was where you took your first kicks at a ball.  And if I’m not mistaken, there was also a teacher who pulled your mother aside one day and told her, you have to sign your child up for football classes, a football school, a team, because he’s different from the rest.

It’s true.  I was studying at the Batista school in Brazil and one day a professor told my mother, your son is different from the rest of the children when playing football, I would advise you to find a football school for him so that he can develop and start playing.  So my mother searched for a school near our house, and I began playing there, in that small school.  After that, I played one year in Alphaville, because the coach of that school was also the coach of Alphaville’s tennis club.  In Brazil, there are tournaments between clubs.  Alphaville played against São Paulo and other clubs, I played one year at Alphaville and then I went to São Paulo.  And that’s where it all started.

Is it true that you played football during the day and studied at night?

That was at the end.  I changed schools a lot.  When I got to the sixth grade in Brazil… it’s different in Brazil, compared to Europe or Spain.  When I got to the sixth grade, I was recruited by a school called Objetivo to play football, and to study.  So I began playing, and during the sixth and seventh grades, I studied in one place during the mornings, because I had to train during the afternoons.  Then during the eighth grade, I had to change schools, because I had to train in the mornings, so I went somewhere where I could study in the afternoons.  So in my first school, I studied in the mornings and trained in the afternoons, and in the second and third schools, I trained in the mornings and studied in the afternoons.

Is it true that you sometimes forgot and arrived late and had to jump over the walls of the school?

It’s true, because I arrived late…

I can’t imagine it, because you’re a saint!

… my mother asked me, why did you have to jump over the wall to get into the school, and I told her, “everything for football, mom.  If I have to study one more year because of this, I’m going to jump over the walls so that I can finish.”

You were a saint as a kid.  When Arbeloa was here, he told me about how he burned tablecloths and tried to jump out of the window while wearing a Superman cape, did you do anything like this when you were a kid?  Tell me an incident.

They’re probably all football-related, because my brother and I often played inside the house.  So the ball was everywhere and in the end my mother had to put her foot down because we broke everything.

What happened to the porcelain duck?

We accidentally broke the head off the porcelain duck.  When we saw the head over there and the duck over here, we tried to fix it [Kaká’s exact words were “we tried to do some surgery”].  We turned the head around, so the duck was facing up, when it used to face down.

Is it true that you had development problems when you were small?

Yes.  When I was 12, more or less, my parents saw that the other children were much taller than me.  We did some tests and found out that I had a delayed bone age of two years.  There was nothing we could do except wait.  São Paulo consulted with some doctors and endocrinologists to see if I would have any problems.  My father is tall, my mother as well, for a woman.  They told me nothing was wrong and that I would grow sooner or later.  I had to wait two and a half years to start growing.

Was it always your dream to become a footballer?  Arbeloa told us that as a kid, he wanted to become a basketball player.

Really?

He said that in school, he was asked to draw what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he drew a basketball player.  Did you always want to become a footballer?

Always.  I always wanted to become a footballer.  When I started playing, I played futsal, normal football, everything.  I spent the entire day at the club, playing, because that was what I wanted.

What would you have been if you weren’t a footballer?

The same as my father, I think.  I think I would have done the same line of work as my father, because he’s a great example for me.

You began to take football seriously when you joined São Paulo, when you started training every day.  When did you realize that you could dedicate your life to football?

I think when I was 15, more or less.  When I was 15, I told myself that everything else was going to be secondary, that football was going to be the priority and I had to fight until the end, to become a professional football player.

When you told me this for the first time, it really impacted me.  When you were 18, something happened that almost prevented you from realizing this dream.

I was in the first year of juniors in Brazil.  When you got three cards, you were suspended for the next game.  So the míster gave me two days off, and I went to my grandparents’ house, the parents of my father, who lived in Caldas Novas.  The city is famous in Brazil due to its thermal waters, which has health benefits.  That’s why my grandparents went to live there.  There are clubs with water slides, and while joking around with my brother, I went down one, and I hit my head on the bottom of the pool.  I twisted my neck.  I was a bit dizzy, and I told my brother, who had come down after me, I hit my head on the bottom of the pool.  He touched the back of my head, and found that it was bleeding a bit.  So we went to a hospital, they said I was fine, that I just needed some stitches in my head.  I went back to São Paulo, and I trained on Monday and on Tuesday.  But my neck hurt a lot.  So on Tuesday, I went to do another test, and they found that I had a fracture of the sixth cervical vertebrae.   All the doctors told me you’re fine, you can walk, you have feeling in your hands, but I was still a bit afraid.  Then the chief doctor came and told me that I was very fortunate because despite the neck injury, I could still walk and play football.  It was a very intense experience for me, an experience with God.  It’s impressive because this happened in October.  I was out for November and December, and I returned for the Taça São Paulo de Juniores, a very famous tournament in Brazil.  Before this happened, I had been playing.  When I returned, I came off the bench.  The coach of the first team, Vadão, said he needed an attacking forward and a midfielder.  My coach said, I’ll give you one of my starting attacking forwards, but I can’t give you my midfielder, because he’s the captain and the player with the most experience on the team.  I’ll give you my reserve, which happened to be me.  So the attacking forward and I went to the first team, and after that, I didn’t return to the juniors team.

It’s like a fairy tale.

They’re things that happen in life; I don’t believe it’s a coincidence.

You’ve mentioned God.

I really believe it.  The incident with my neck happened, and two months later, I returned and began playing on the professional level, in January of 2001.

At the age of 19, you debuted with Brazil.

Yes, when I was 19, in January 2002.  Then I went to the World Cup when I was 20.

In 2002, you also met Florentino Pérez for the first time.

Yes, it was 2002 when I met Florentino Pérez.

He told you, one day you will play for Real Madrid.

One day… only a few players get to visit that office.

What office?

The office where he works. Not many players get to go there.  I said, I’ll wait for you president to take the next step.

Then came Milan, a glorious stage in your life.

It was phenomenal for me, because I had the dream of playing for a big club in Europe.  The first one to show any interest was Milan, because I played with Leonardo in Brazil.  Later on, he returned to Milan as a player, then as a director.  He called me that summer and said that Milan was interested in me, and I told him okay, whatever happens happens.  Then Milan won the Champions League, in 2003, and he called me again and said, everything is going really well at the moment, I don’t think the club will do anything right now.  Then 15 more days passed, he called me again and told me that the club had decided to sign me.  They made São Paulo an offer, I spoke with the president of São Paulo and told him that this was a unique opportunity, that I was 21 years old and that it was something that I wanted to do, to play in Europe.  So in 2003, I went to Milan.

There, you won the Champions League, the Ballon d’Or, the FIFA World Player award… when you’re the best player in the world, what do you do?

Over there, the standards are very high, because in the end only a few players get there.  I knew that these were individual awards, but in the end, you win it by being part of a great team.  I spent six years in Milan.  It was a great team, a team that won many things together, there were two Ballon d’Or winners, Shevchenko and then me.  I believe all these individual awards result from winning as a group.  When you win as a group, it’s normal for some players to win individual awards.

On July 30, 2009, we saw a boy peeking at the Bernabéu from the tunnel, waiting for his presentation in front of 60,000 people.

I could never have imagined that, I peeked out because I was excited.  I didn’t know, I didn’t think it was possible, I thought this could only happen at Real Madrid, in a club like this one.  I had experienced many of these types of things with the Brazilian national team, but it’s different because the national team only gets together once in a while, but with Real Madrid, it’s every day.  During one year, in the 60 or so games, it happens 60 times.  It’s… impressive.

How would you describe what you were feeling that day?

I can’t do it with words, because I never imagined it… I got there, I was presented… because the presentation was a Spanish thing, in the stadium, but when I was waiting there, they told me, look at all the people coming here, there’s more or less 30,000 to 40,000 people here.  And I said, 30,000 to 40,000 people?  That’s not possible.  That made me look out at the stadium.  Then more and more people kept coming, and in the end, there were 50,000 people?

More or less 55,000 to 60,000 people.

It’s a very difficult thing to express, but when you go out there, seeing that many people… it’s impressive.

When your dreams come true, you often think about the people around you, those who have helped you to get there, such as your family, and Carolina.

Carolina is fundamental.  I got married in 2005, and I won the Ballon d’Or in 2007, so she’s been fundamental in my career.  It’s fundamental to have someone giving you support, in both good and bad moments, and to be able to share things with her, and with my parents as well, my brother, with the people who are close to me, during those moments of joy, such as when I arrived in Real Madrid… it’s great to have that.

Many men are watching this show, and many women as well.  You’re a reference for all the women, because you’re such a gentleman.  People want to know, how did you propose to Carolina?

Madre mía…

Was it very special?  What was it like?

We had a long distance relationship for two years, she was living in Brazil while I was living in Milan.  She would come to Milan every two months, and I went back to Brazil once in a while with the national team, so we saw each other often.  One day, she came to Milan.  I told her, I have to go to Venice for an event with Adidas, there’s someone from Adidas waiting for me there.  And she said, okay, I’ll go with you.  So we went to Venice, we took a gondola ride, and then we went to a hotel.  There was a terrace at the top, along with a restaurant.  Once we were there, I told her that the people from Adidas were running late, so I didn’t know if the event was going to happen or not.  So we began eating.  Next to the restaurant was a terrace, where you could see all of Venice, including the sea.  Then I asked the hotel people to turn on the lights outside, I went out there with the ring, and I proposed.

All women are going to want something like that.

I created a situation where it was impossible for her to say no.

After that, you started a family, which was one of your dreams.  How did she tell you she was pregnant with your first child?

We were trying for a while, she went to the doctor for a checkup and then she called me and told me that she wasn’t pregnant.  Then she went out and bought a pair of white baby shoes, because we didn’t know what the sex was…

It was a nod to Madrid of course.

Of course.  And she wrote on the mirror, “congratulations papá.”  And when I got home after training and saw that and the shoes, I was overjoyed.  These are things you never forget.

Is your family happy in Madrid?

Very happy.  The standard of living here is great.  The city is… and the people, the friends we’ve made, my family is very happy here.

You realized your dream of playing in Real Madrid, everything seemed to be going well, and then you had to suffer.  During your first year, you weren’t at the level that you wanted to be at, and in the pre-season of the second season, you started suffering.  How do you fight against this?

What motivated me was the dream of playing on this team, in Real Madrid, and for things to go well for me.  As for triumphing, I always said that I want to triumph in Real Madrid, but that depends a lot on the team winning.  I wanted to play, to enjoy playing and for the fans to see that the player wants to be there.  I firmly believe that I will triumph here.  That is what motivates me.  In the first year, I had problems with the groin and all that, and people were saying how I was saving myself for the World Cup, many things.  Then during the World Cup, things didn’t go well for me.  In the second year, I had problems with my knee.  Everyone asked what was going on with me, whether I would return or not.  That can affect you psychologically.  But I always had the dream that things would go well for me at Real Madrid.  And that was my motivation.  During this past summer, I had the opportunity to leave.  I had been here for two years, things didn’t go well for me during that time, it was a bad experience, I could have left for another club, go back to Brazil, play in another league less competitive than the Spanish one… but I sat down with the míster and he told me that he wanted me in Real Madrid during the next season.  Florentino told me the same thing.  I told them, I going to try to make sure that things go well for me in Real Madrid, physically speaking.  One day, the president asked me what my problem in Real Madrid was, and I said it was me because I’m not all there physically, even though I go to training sessions early, I do extra things, I do specific exercises, but on the field it’s not working.  I felt like a robot on the field, since all my actions were very stiff.  Before, everything was much more dynamic, natural.  But then things became mechanical… that affected me negatively.  So when I spoke with the míster and the president, and they told me that I was going to stay, I remembered those words.  When I spoke about this with other people, they said no, you’re going to be sold and things like that… but I’m still here.  The president didn’t sell me, he wanted me to stay.  The motivation I have is to triumph in this team.

That’s what you have in mind, to return the confidence that the president put in you, in bringing you, signing you, keeping you, especially when many people were saying that he should sell you.  And also in the conversations with Mourinho, when it appeared that you had disappeared, when you were recovering, when some people were saying that you didn’t exist as a player anymore.

Yes, people talk about the debt I owe to the fans, to the president, to everyone.  I want to triumph for these people, not to show those people who said my career was over that they were wrong.  I want to triumph for those people who always supported me.  My motivation is for my family, my friends, for those people who always gave me their support.  During the low moments, they gave me their support.  Thank you.  Everything I’m doing is so that these people will get the joy of seeing me play well once more.   I don’t know if the Kaká of Milan will return, but this is what motivates me each day, to return to play at a high level.  I believe this season, which has started out well… the press always talks about the Ajax game, but this game is the final consequence, because in the games in which I got to play 10 or 15 minutes, I believe I played well and took advantage of the opportunities.  In the first game against Zaragoza, I played 13 minutes and scored a goal and provided an assist.  So, I don’t know if the old me will return or not.  My motivation is to do everything possible to return to playing at a high level and to be a decisive player, because I know that I haven’t done anything here yet.  Things are improving, and going well for me, phenomenally, but I have to continue improving, so that by the end of the season, I can take stock of the season and say, this season was worth it.

Did you cry when things weren’t going well for you?

Many times.  I cried many times.  For those people who are close to me… my wife, who has seen me in these situations… because I didn’t understand, I always a person who… I led the life of an athlete, I ate well, I went to bed early, I always tried to lead a healthy life.  Then when I had physical problems, I got really upset.  Sometimes I played, but I didn’t play well.  I was like a robot, as I said earlier.  There were times when I played games, and then I went home and trained alone.  I trained at home by myself at night.  I told myself, I can’t believe that this is happening to me, I’m going to go run, and I went running by myself to see if I could get back into shape.  Football is a very physically demanding sport, if you’re not physically fit, others will take advantage of you.  So you have to be in good shape.  And now, I can see the fruit of my labor.

When you weren’t playing well, did many people abandon you?

There were some.

Have they returned now that Kaká has returned, become the player that everyone expected?

No, I have it very clear… as the míster said in his press conference the other day, yesterday Kaká was dead, today he’s a phenomenon.  You have to find an equilibrium in these things.  Now, I understand all this.  I’ve had 10 years of experience in the football world, so I understand all this now.  When things are going well, I don’t think I’m the best, and when things aren’t going well, I don’t think I’m the worst.  I was always conscious of who I am, the player that I can be, the person that I can be, of what I can be, all that.

And not only have you returned, but your smile has also returned.  You look happy now, we get to see you laugh.  Is this the happiest moment for you since you joined Real Madrid?

Up to now, the happiest moment was my presentation.  But on the field, I think it’s right now, because I feel… I’m enjoying football again.  In all the time I was injured, I still had the passion, but it was a bit latent.  I saw everything as extremely difficult, and football wasn’t a pleasure anymore.  Now, it’s a pleasure once more, to be on the field, kicking the ball… it’s all a pleasure again.

I suppose that you brought this sadness home with you, and now you’re bringing this joy as well.  What is a normal day in your life like?  What do you like to do at home?

When I get home from training… now, Luca is already in school.  I go to pick him up at the cole.  We return home, I spend some time with Isabella, I give her baths…

She’s the princess.

The princess of the house.  So I spend time with her.  At night, when the kids are in bed, Caroline and I go out to eat with friends.  I really like going out to eat.  We always go somewhere different, to get to know the culinary offerings of Madrid, all that.  Then we return home and go to bed.  The next day, I start all over again.

How about hobbies?  Golf?  Hunting?  Darts?  What is your hobby?

My hobby is my family.  When I can, I take Luca to places like that, one time we went to a country estate where you can hunt.  They showed us some things.  We also go to the zoo a lot, because Luca loves animals.  My hobby is my kids, and we try and do everything together.

You also like to sing, including in the locker room…

Now it’s time for the jokes, no?

No, but it’s true that you like to sing, with Marcelo, Cristiano…

Cristiano sings very well, Marcelo sings very well, I don’t.  I just clap along in accompaniment.

There’s a really good atmosphere, no?  I always like to make this clear, because there are a lot of opinions, there are people who don’t know what this group is like, who say things just to say things and who try to find problems between the players and with the coach…  That’s why I always like to have the people on the inside give their opinion.  What is the atmosphere like?

It’s phenomenal, there’s a great atmosphere.  Then there are groups, but this is normal.   Normal in life, in football, in school, in any place.  I get along really well with Carvalho.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t get along with the Spaniards, or that I don’t speak to Cristiano, to Marcelo, to Pepe.  It’s the complete opposite.  Although I get along well with him, I could hang out with the others another day.  That’s how it is in life, and that’s what the locker room of Real Madrid is like.  There are some who are closer to each other, but generally speaking, everything is great, there is a lot of respect.  The other day, people spoke about Iker and Cristiano, but there is no problem there.  We joke about all this in the locker room, we joke with each other, hey did you see this fight?  The group is wonderful.  I think bit by bit, we’ll see the results, because in the end, it’s the group that wins.  If Real Madrid triumphs at the end of the season, you’ll be able to see that this is a very strong group.

And the míster?  What can you tell me about the míster?

I only have good things to say about him.  He could have gotten rid of me.  When a player is not doing well, he could have said let’s sell him, let’s bring someone else in, I wasn’t the one responsible for signing him.  But in the end, he only helped me.  The press said many things, and it’s normal in football for the coach to have confidence in his players.  And this confidence is won on the field and in the training sessions.  I believe I am winning the confidence of the coach bit by bit.  But this was very difficult for me, because I had training sessions which were disasters.  I told myself, if I’m like this, I’m never going to gain the confidence of the coach.  But it was never his problem, it was my problem.  In the end, he was always there for me, he told me things, he helped me, he called me, he told me to stay calm and to have patience, and things like that.  His entire technical staff did as well, Karanka, Rui, Silvino, ummm… Morais… they always said nice things to me.  The psychological aspect of football is fundamental.  A word of support… these people knew the right moment in which to say these things.

El madridismo has great support for the team and for you.  Many madridistas from all over the world are watching this, what would you like to say to them?

I would like to thank them because we started out the season well.  We had a bad week, with the games against Levante and Racing, so everyone was talking about a crisis after that.  Then we played Rayo at the Bernabéu and allowed a goal within the first 15 seconds, but I believe the fans feel the team.  El madridismo is with Real Madrid because they know that we have a great coach and a great team.  Then they saw how much desire we had to do well, and so they started cheering and supporting us.  I think we can say that we have started a new cycle of victories for Real Madrid.  So I have to thank the madridistas for their support during the bad moments of the season, both collectively and individually, in my case.

I told you earlier that people were very excited about this interview.  We received many tokens of support for you, and many questions.  We could spend hours answering all of them.  We have to answer some of them, because people are interested to know things.  For example, do you think this team is mentally prepared to win La Décima this year?

I believe yes.  The team is mentally strong enough to win it.  Last year, we won the Copa del Rey, and this team is very strong mentally  to win La Décima or the Liga, or whatever.  We’ll see this in the end, because… for example, winning the Champions… when you get to the final… the good part is the process of getting there.  And I believe the team is very mature to win important things.

Someone from the United States wants to know if you’ll return to the Brazilian national team.

It’s an objective… I have personal goals.  First, to return to the field, to get continuous minutes and have good games, and then later on whether I deserve to return to the national team is a personal goal.

Then we have some who asked about how you and Özil are fighting for the same position.  They want to know what you think about Özil as a footballer.

He’s phenomenal.  We have no problems in playing together, but it’s the míster who decides, for tactical reasons.  He’s a very intelligent player, very intelligent.  We have no problems playing together because we always know where each other is.  He’s already a great player, but he also has a great future.  He’s elegant, has great vision, he makes very little mistakes and that’s a very positive thing.

You’re happy with the team, happy at home, but I’m told that you have a neighbor who is a little annoying, who has a dog that is a bit annoying.

Madre mía… he has a dog that runs around on the streets, my neighbor is a bit annoying.

He’s a bit annoying, but you can’t make him angry, because his name is José, last name Mourinho.  So if the dog comes to your house, it’s okay.

It’s okay.

We reached the end of the interview, and all of the previous players have left us a souvenir of their visit, their autograph on this desk.  You’ve had some difficult moments, but you’re a very loved footballer, one whom everyone expects to see back.  We’re all very happy that you’ve recovered your smile.  Thank you for being here.

Thank you very much.  I want to thank everyone who works here at RMTV, who do a great job in showing the day to day of Real Madrid, to the fans and to everyone who supported me in those low moments, I hope that there will be many great moments for you to enjoy throughout my career here in Real Madrid.  Thank you very much.

Thank you very much.  It’s been a pleasure.

Kaká also did an interview in English.  I didn’t think his Spanish would be better than his English, but it is.

Ricardo, thank you so much for joining us on the Real… series. You must be delighted with your current form and the way Real Madrid are playing at the moment.

Yes, I’m very happy for this, that I’m back in shape so I can play better than before. I’m also happy for Real Madrid after two bad games in which we didn’t play well against Racing and Levante, now we won three games, so I think the team has a new face.

This is your third season now on the team, but it’s the first time you were able to put in a full pre-season with Real Madrid. How has that helped you progress this campaign?

I think the pre-season is so important… The last pre-season I had was in 2007, I think. It’s very important because the season is so long and you have to be in shape to play on Sunday, Wednesday and Sunday again, so having a pre-season with the team this year was fantastic for me and so important.

You began your career when you were eight years old at São Paulo. You were there for more than ten years. What did you learn there and how did it shape you as a footballer?

I’m so grateful to São Paulo because that’s where the base was laid for me to become a football player. I started there when I was eight years old and stayed until I was 21, when I left to play for Milan. Everything I learned as a kid, as a young player, I learned at São Paulo. I am very grateful because I learned a lot of things… a lot of things.  We learn every day, but I learned many things at São Paulo.

We gave the fans an opportunity to ask you a question today and we’ve had e-mails in from all over the world. We picked one of those out and they asked which football player inspired you as a child?

Thank you very much to everybody who sent messages. My favorite player was Raí. He played for São Paulo when they won the first Club World Cup in Japan against Barcelona. Raí was the most important player on that team. Raí was my idol and a great example of a football player for me to follow. He returned to Brazil after he played for Paris Saint-Germain. He’s now got several charities in Brazil… he’s a very nice guy. Raí is my biggest example.

We’ve heard you say in the past, maybe when you were a little bit older, that Ronaldo was a player you really liked to watch. Then you went on to win the World Cup with him with Brazil. How was that?

That World Cup was amazing because when I went to the World Cup I was 20 years old. Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Cafu were all there when I got there. It was amazing for me, being 20 years old, to play, train and spend the day with these players. It was a big experience, especially being with Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo because we more or less played in the same position. I watched them play for so long… Ronaldo is for me the best footballer I’ve ever played with.

Of course Ronaldo was here under Florentino Pérez, who signed you for Real Madrid. He’s always supported you. How does it feel to have the support of the Real Madrid president?

It’s very good. Florentino has always said good words to, and about, me. He said I would stay and see my dream of playing with Real Madrid come through. I want to thank Florentino, the club, my teammates and the supporters because the things I’ve been through were not easy, but I managed to pull through thanks to their support.

Yes, it’s not been easy for you. In your first two seasons here at Real Madrid things were a little difficult due to injury. What was that like?

It was very difficult because I first had problems in my groin area and then with my knee. There was a lot of doubt, with people asking themselves if I’d ever be back or not: will Kaká play well again, or not? So it’s not easy, but I think things are going well now and I can show more of what I can do for Real Madrid.

Also, another person who’s always been a big supporter of yours is José Mourinho, and he said on your return from injury that you’d make the difference for this team. What’s it like to have the backing of the best coach in the world?

It’s great to have it because Mourinho always stayed with me. His staff and everybody who works with him have always been there. It’s not easy. You train every day, but some days things don’t go well, so every time someone would come over and say something positive. The moment I didn’t believe any more Mourinho stood by me and said positive things so that I would continue to believe that things would be good for me at Real Madrid.

Well, you are back and it’s been great for us all to see. How is your confidence at the moment and how does it feel to be back to your best?

My confidence is better now. It’s increased, but I know that I haven’t done anything yet, so I need to do a lot of things. We’ll see what the balance is at the end of the season. I feel I have the possibility to make a difference this season.

This season we’ve seen some fantastic attacking football already from Real Madrid, and you’ve played a key role in that. What’s it like to be part of the team at the moment and what’s the mood like in the dressing room?

It’s very good. The dressing room at Real Madrid is very good. I think the mood is amazing. A lot of people say that it’s not good, that the Portuguese speakers form a group, that the Spaniards form another… That’s not true. Everybody respects everybody. We have a great relationship between us. I think this year can be a good year for Real Madrid.

What’s the chemistry like on the pitch between you attacking players up front: Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, yourself, Higuaín…?

It’s easy to play with them. They are very intelligent, and once we know the dynamic we must have, how we must play, it’s easier. I can play with Özil and Cristiano; or with Özil, Di María and Higuaín… I think everybody can play with everybody. I think that’s a good thing the manager can do with this team.

Long season ahead; three competitions. What are your hopes personally, and then with the team as well?

I think Real Madrid always think about winning, so we need to win something. It’s our responsibility. The players who play for Real Madrid think like that because I think we are all winners. So we need to think about winning. I hope at the end of the season we can celebrate good championships.

We all do. Thank you very much for your time Ricardo.

You’re welcome.

[And he looks relieved that it’s all over.]

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29 Comments leave one →
  1. October 18, 2011 14:31

    This is the best RealInterview everrrr! Ricky is so freaking perfect! I almost died last week while i was watching the interview ! ❤ Anyway thanks for translating Una 🙂
    Idk if can i ask you this,but…what are your thought on Kaka?

    • elizabethw permalink
      October 18, 2011 23:06

      i wanna know too! (:

    • Sarah, Madrid permalink
      October 20, 2011 15:56

      Yes please me2! i also would like to know what’s una thoughts on Pipita? Because he is one of the few our footballers that madridista don’t agree on!

  2. manie permalink
    October 18, 2011 14:34

    This was such a great interview – Kaka about his engagement (“an offer she couldn’t refuse”), his humble attitude, and overall loveliness – I love it. I’m so glad he’s regaining his form, he is so fun to watch. Thanks for translating the interview, Una!

  3. Pipita permalink
    October 18, 2011 14:45

    OMG…the best interview ever. Kaká is such a lovely person and I wish all the best for him.

  4. October 18, 2011 15:13

    thank u una…… dunno how you manages this………… you are sort of my sole source for la liga…….. n ofcourse love kaka……..

  5. black widow permalink
    October 18, 2011 17:30

    thank you for the translation! it’s a lot of work and i appreciate it. 🙂

    he really is lovely, isn’t he? all class, so sweet and humble and sunny and gracious. i’ve always been a fan of his and i am so pleased he seems to be back to his regular form again!

  6. bbBenz permalink
    October 18, 2011 19:13

    “My hobby is my kids, and we try and do everything together.” aaww 🙂
    Kaka is a saint indeed

  7. Gilly B permalink
    October 18, 2011 19:20

    Love Kaka and love you Una for translating!!

  8. October 18, 2011 19:35

    Kaka and Mou are neighbors??!!!!!??!!!!!!
    OMG I CAN’T STOP IMAGINING JOSE JR AND LUCA AND ISABELLA HANGING OUT
    WATCH OUT CRIS JR, YOU GOT A RIVAL!!!!1
    WAIT WHY ARE MY CAPS ON

  9. October 18, 2011 21:20

    So many stories regarding Kaka we need more details on. Jose Mourinho’s dog (among other neighbour stories), and dumping Arbeloa’s BlackBerry into the water rofl.

    He’s so humble and so eloquent in his answers. Not only is he a saint, he radiates classiness.

  10. Sahar permalink
    October 18, 2011 21:26

    I love all real players but kaka is so special. He speaks so eloquently but humble. He isn’t arrogant at all and is thoughtful. He also doesn’t try to act differently. I love that his beautiful smile has returned. Kaka brings something that other real players no matter how great they are dont bring. It is unselfishness. Other fans mention real plays unselfishly and like a team with kaka. Even barca fans worry and say if kaka plays at his old level real is unstoppable.

    Best real interview.

  11. elizabethw permalink
    October 18, 2011 23:05

    Definetely the best interview ever!!!! i wanted to see this interview long long time ago, i really like kaka and hope the best for him!!! >w< ❤
    he´s so humble and cuteeee (: and love what he said about mou and about the propose, was the best part
    thanks una! (:

  12. Rabia permalink
    October 18, 2011 23:39

    Thank you so much for translating this! I’ve been waiting for this and I know it was a long interview, so much appreciated.

  13. Alyssa permalink
    October 19, 2011 00:02

    THIS MAN. I love him. No other words seem worthy of him.

    Thanks for the translation! I tried watching in Spanish before and definitely didn’t pick up on most of these things. I don’t know what I’d do without you!

  14. Carol permalink
    October 19, 2011 04:05

    Hey Una,

    Can I post this translation to Kaka’s fan site? Thanks so much.

    • unamadridista permalink*
      October 19, 2011 16:17

      I don’t mind, as long as you cite me.

  15. Gillian permalink
    October 19, 2011 04:42

    *fans self* Kaka looks INCREDIBLY handsome in here!

  16. Jennie Culhane permalink
    October 19, 2011 05:44

    i love this. This 51 year old woman in the U.S is a big fan of Kaka and his lovely family. I wish them all the best. I cant wait to see him play in So.Cal. again.

  17. October 19, 2011 06:25

    THANK YOU!!! I’ve been waiting for this and it didn’t disappoint at all!:)

  18. Marose permalink
    October 19, 2011 12:11

    Thank you for this. I love Kaka.

  19. jellyace permalink
    October 19, 2011 12:16

    This is why Kaka is well-loved all over the world! He is just amazing! Thank you, Una for this!

  20. superfan permalink
    October 19, 2011 16:29

    Wow. I feel like his interview is the longest one yet. Props to you for translating!!! 🙂 Thank you.

    And I can’t believe he’s neighbors with ‘annoying’ Mou. Hahahahaha.

  21. Fatima permalink
    October 19, 2011 17:34

    the best ever interview kaka is so natural he is so damn sweet & adorable,Totally love & respect hin
    b/w thankz for translating it in english

  22. Pammie permalink
    October 20, 2011 15:30

    haha, the story about his neighbour Mourinho (I had to watch that one in the video, he’s hilarious there). xD

    Thanks a lot for translating this lovely interview!!

  23. Futbolfan permalink
    October 24, 2011 06:19

    OMG I asked that question about him returning to the national team! I’m pretty sure they used my question!
    AAAHAHHAHHHH I HAVE COMMUNICATED WITH KAKAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love him so much. Oh my goodness. And I love how so many people love him as well. Even Barca fans like Kaka and hope he does well.

  24. Jessica permalink
    October 27, 2011 07:39

    Thanks so much for translating! Kaka is just such as beautiful person.

  25. missmadridista permalink
    May 6, 2012 15:50

    i can’t help but feeling like kaka is still struggling to win a space for himself in RM. it’s not that he’s not happy or anything, but he’s still trying to fit in. indeed he’s got better, better than when he was injured but i believe he’s not done yet with his ‘adjusments’.

    i believe in kaka… and this saint will return, and this dude will no longer be Kaka of Milan because he’ll be Kaka of Madrid

    we’ve got your back, kaka! never stop getting to top.

  26. Maria permalink
    September 9, 2012 15:18

    Thanks 4 translating the interview. Till now i thought i was the only 1 to like kaka this much. I wish all the best for him. I pray to jesus at the present atleast for some good clubs to nod for him. Kaka, please return.

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