Brazilian star Kaka got his first real look at the next generation of Brazilian footballers during his return to international scene in Thursday’s 6-0 friendly win over Iraq. And the Real Madrid man was more than impressed with the new batch of youngsters.
The Iraq game marked two years since Kaka had appeared for Brazil after an unsettling time at club level following his move to Spanish giants Real Madrid. But things look like they are starting to turn around for the midfielder as he has found himself back amongst Jose Mourinho’s side and that form has subsequently won him an international return.
Kaka put in a strong showing in the comfortable win, but rather than talk about his impressive performance, he chose to talk up the prospects of the next generation.
“It’s nice to get back to training and to meet the new players. I believe that this new generation is very good,” he said. “I’m also happy to have scored a goal. Regardless of the opponent, the game was important for us. I took it seriously as we all did. It is important to play well and to score was even better.”
The next generation is headed by two of the most exciting talents to come out of Brazil in recent years, in Neymar and Oscar, who both featured alongside Kaka against the Iraqis; both were full of praise for their 30-year-old team-mate.
“It was wonderful to play with him. He’s a true playmaker and we got along very well. Despite missing some understanding, I think this will only improve with more games.” Neymar said.
Oscar, whose second goal was set up by Kaka, said: “He [Kaka] played the ball into me so I could score and he played his part. He is helping a lot.”
Brazil coach Mano Menezes was pleased with the side’s comfortable victory, highlighting the impact of Kaka and the performance of young Oscar.
“It’s hard to put a player into the squad who has not had much time to integrate and only trained for 30 minutes,” he said. “However, Kaka’s knowledge and ability makes it easier, with him playing well with the team it helps others around him to player better, too.
“Oscar is the No.10 for this Brazilian team. He has all the right attributes and is growing. He is young, yes, but he is always developing. Oscar is smart and his style suits how we played today. He is a very important player.
“I am left satisfied with all the players. But we need to play well against any opponent, even rivals with a much higher level of play. We also have to make fewer mistakes, as mistakes against better teams are often costly.”
Whilst Menezes stated he is fairly settled on the squad he will take to the Confederations Cup next year, he claimed there was still some tinkering to do in relation to the use of a lone striker, although admitted he was lucky to have several options to call upon.
“Yes, I have almost chosen the team. Most players who will be in the Confederations Cup are what we are seeing,” he said. “We have 11 positions and therefore need to make choices. We’ve played without a target man against Mexico and China.
“But, of course, even when we do, we cannot play with more than one at a time. We have options in players like Damian, [Leandro Damiao], Pato, Luis Fabiano and Fred. Surely, we will have a player with the characteristics of a target man in that group.”