Real Madrid playmaker Kaka is hopeful he can start to enjoy his football again after scoring a brace in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.The victory keeps Madrid’s hopes of snatching the title from leader Barcelona’s grasp alive, although they remain a relatively distant eight points behind their rivals.
Kaka, a World Cup winner with Brazil and former World Player of the Year, said he was indebted to the club for their perseverance with him despite his series of injuries that have hampered his playing time in Spain.
“I need to work hard to enjoy football again. The only problem was with my knee, which limited me from playing all out,” the former AC Milan star said.
“I need to work hard down the home stretch of the season. I hope to have fun playing football. I feel like I owe it to Real Madrid and the fact that I haven’t fulfilled expectations bothers me.”
Despite speculation of a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu, fuelled by coach Jose Mourinho’s preference for German midfielder Mesut Oezil, Kaka insisted he was happy working under the colourful Portuguese.
“I am grateful to Mourinho for everything he has done to help me. I have no problem with him whatsoever. He is a great coach and he is helping me grow as a footballer,” Kaka said.
Real Madrid assistant coach Aitor Karanka was thrilled with the Brazilian’s effort against Bilbao.
“Kaka played a great game,” said, Karanka, who was filling in for Mourinho at the post-match press conference.
“He looked good, especially after all the things that happened with him in regards to his injury.
“It is vitally important that Kaka is fit because there are important games coming up for us.”
Meanwhile, goalkeeper Iker Casillas insists his side are still in the title hunt.
The World Cup-winning goalkeeper, while admitting it would require a monumental effort to usurp Barcelona at the top, said such a feat was not beyond possibility.
“We are going to continue thinking about winning and earning points so that no one believe this league is over,” Casillas said.
“It will be hard to win, but you never know what can happen. One play or mistake can change everything.”