With the announcement of Real Madrid's 25-man squad for the Champions League comes fresh hope, perhaps a last hope, for Brazilian star Kaka at the Santiago Bernabeu.
For the 30-year-old to even still be in the Spanish capital right now may be a surprise to many. Real Madrid and Kaka looked set to part company this summer with the former AC Milan man seemingly not part of manager Jose Mourinho's plans in 2012-13.
Three Liga games into the new campaign and Kaka has yet to start a match in the famous all white kit. The signing of Luka Modric from Tottenham Hotspur only acted to push him further down the pecking order in the Madrid squad, too.
Earlier this summer Mourinho said "If Kaka stays I would be happy and I am happy if he wants to go. In football it is normal that players play where they want. He is a very good footballer and prepared to be at his maximum level. If he decides to stay, then perfect If he goes, that's perfect too but we are not going to give him away for free. Those who want him have to pay for him."
They're not exactly the words of a manager keen to keep hold of one of the most famous names in world football. They're not the words of a man who sees Kaka as a key player in his squad this season. They're more of a plea from the 'Special One' for anyone interested in the former World Player of the Year to stump up the cash if they want him. He ain't leaving for nothing.
While a key role for Kaka in Madrid this season is unlikely, he may at least get one more chance to try and change his manager's opinion of him if he gets a run out in the Champions League to aid Los Blancos' search for their tenth European Cup.
It's certainly brought a positive response from the player himself, who said: "It motivates me to know that Mourinho is counting on me and I hope to be ready for when he needs me. A new stage begins for me at Real Madrid and I am going to carry on working with the aim of gaining the coach's trust to play more regularly. I am happy, my job is to train and today, on my day off, I'm going to do it in a double session. When I go out into the street people like seeing me enjoy football at the Bernabeu and that's what I want and hope for."
Surprisingly confident words from a man who was seemingly heading for the exit door at the Bernabeu over the close season and who's yet to start a game for the club this campaign. Does he know something we don't?
While Kaka should get some time on the pitch for Los Merengues between now and the winter transfer window, whether that be as back-up, from the substitutes' bench, in the Copa del Rey or in the Champions League, his time in the Spanish capital looks set to come to an end as soon as a buyer will meet the asking price of both Madrid and Kaka.
Reading between the lines, Los Blancos are just waiting for the right suitor to come along for him, and when I say right suitor, I mean someone with enough cash to prize him away. Kaka was signed for £56 million, a pretty penny, and is reported to be on 10 million euros a year. He signed a six-year deal, keeping him at the club until 2015. You do the math.
Kaka has his fans, and plenty of them, but he just hasn't hit the heights of his time in Italy. He's a huge drain on the club's resources, especially when he's being limited to a spot on the bench week in, week out.
In all likelihood, the club will have to lower their asking price for him, and the player himself will surely need to see a cut in his wage demands to move on. Only Manchester City, Paris St Germain and various Russian clubs can fork out the kind of expense that Madrid currently are on the Brazilian. A return to his homeland would be a sentimental one, but a Brazilian club matching the conditions financially looks unlikely.
Madrid aside, a player of Kaka's ability also needs to move on to get regular match action. He's not getting any younger, but he still has years left in him to remind us all of the Kaka we knew and loved from his time in Milan before it's too late. We just won't see enough of that at Madrid as things stand, and I think both he and Mourinho know that.
Maybe he's got one last chance with this inclusion in the Champions League squad. He'll be eager to take it, whether that be to remain in Madrid or attract interest from elsewhere.
Good luck to him, the world needs to see Kaka playing football.
Follow me on Twitter @nicholasrigg
GettyImages / Angel Martinez/Real Madrid/Getty ImagesWill Kaka get a final chance to prove himself to Real Madrid in the Champions League.