In late July, the New York Red Bulls were linked with Ricardo Kaká, the former FIFA World Player of the year. If signed, he would probably be the biggest name to ever play in the MLS.
The Kakà transfer rumors have been going on for a little while now. He has also been linked with Italian giants AC Milan. They probably could use him more than the Red Bulls because the Rossoneri are going through some hard times with the loss of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and probably the best center-back in the world, Thiago Silva.
It is just too amusing to ask yourself “what if?”. What if a world-class player like Kaka was transferred to the Red Bulls or, for that matter, any club in the MLS?
Let’s just say hypothetically he spends four more years anywhere in Europe. I doubt he will get decent playing time with Real Madrid. So a 34-year-old Kaká decides to hop over the pond right into Red Bull Arena. How would a somewhat fragile Kaká fair in the MLS? Will he just become a center-midfielder who fades in and out of the game like Beckham?
His creativity and awareness, his key attributes right now, would certainly prevail. Like Beckham, he would probably end up sending beautiful lofted through-balls for the main striker to chase. In the Red Bulls’ case it would probably be Kenny Cooper or another younger striker by then. I doubt Thierry Henry will be playing much soccer in four years. He and Tim Cahill would make for quite the center-midfield if Cahill is still around. Maybe the Red Bulls would even change their midfield to a diamond formation so Kaká could play the creative attacking-mid role, or as they like to call it now: the trequartista.
But would adding a former world-class player add anything to the league? Does the MLS want players that are about to retire like Nesta? Don Garber would probably rather grow the league and create his own stars like Brek Shea, a home grown phenomenon. The truth is that extending the careers of theses “has-been” sort of players brings popularity to the league and no one can contest that.
People will always come out to watch a Beckham, a Kaká or an Henry no matter what physical state they are in. They just seem to become celebrities—especially if they have good looks, a cheeky smile, and a seductive British accent.