Real Madrid fans give gigantic welcome to Brazilian ace Kaka

Brazilian midfielder Kaka displays his Number 8 new jersey of the Real Madrid during an official presentation at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, on June 30, 2009.

AP Sports Writer

MADRID -- With the crowd chanting his name, Kaka received a roaring welcome Tuesday when he was introduced at his new home of Real Madrid before at least 50,000 fans.

The 27-year-old Brazilian playmaker, acquired from AC Milan for $92 million, was presented by team president Florentino Perez at Santiago Bernabeu. Kaka shook his head in delight at the response by the fans.

"I'm very happy about this new step in my career at Real Madrid," said Kaka, who will wear jersey No. 8. "Viva Madrid!"

Kaka, who passed his medical earlier Tuesday, and Cristiano Ronaldo are Perez's major summer signings as the team tries to make up for a season without a trophy.

"There are no words for today, it's an unforgettable day," Kaka said through a translator. "All of this is a great honor and responsibility, and not a negative responsibility but a positive one. I hope we can win titles and many victories."

Kaka agreed to a six-year contract with Madrid and will team with Cristiano Ronaldo, the world player of the year who was acquired by Madrid for a record transfer of $131 million.

"We're compatible players and I think we'll be able to play alongside without a problem," said Kaka, who helped his country to victory at the Confederations Cup in South Africa, where he was honored as the tournament's best player.

Kaka took the stage before a backdrop featuring photos of iconic Madrid players Alfredo di Stefano, Raul Gonzalez, Juanito and Zinedine Zidane. Accompanied by a young fan donning the first Kaka jersey, he toured half the 80,000-capacity stadium to sign autographs and salute the pumped-up crowd.

Madrid failed to get past the first knockout stage of Europe's top-tier competition for the fifth straight season and lost the league to bitter rival Barcelona. Barcelona won the Champions League, Spanish league and Spanish Copa del Rey all in one year, the first Spanish team to capture all three titles in a season.

Kaka believes Madrid is in a great position to compete after finishing runner-up last year.

"Madrid has everything in terms of a fascinating team. And it's always been a reference for great players," Kaka said. "The project is very good. I can't wait to play."

Kaka, whose full name is Ricardo Izecson Dos Santos, won a Champions League, Serie A, Club World Cup and two European Supercups in his six seasons at Milan, which he joined from Sao Paulo in 2003. Kaka was also a member of Brazil's World Cup-winning team in 2002.

Perez has splashed out $333 million this summer, including Valencia defender Raul Albiol, in a bid to turn the page on a season marred by former president Ramon Calderon's resignation over a vote-rigging scandal.

Even Perez was given an ovation when he took the stage, with chants of "Florentino" ringing out for the first time since his initial reign from 2000-06.

"We believe that this club can become the best club in the world, again," Perez said. "He is a unique player ... and Kaka is with us."


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