Kaka targets Serie A title
Kaka's second spell with AC Milan commenced on a light-hearted note on Thursday as the Brazilian returned to the familiar surroundings of the club's Milanello training ground for his first official meeting with the media since his deadline-day return.
It seemed like he had never been away as he exchanged jokes with Milan's vice-president Adriano Galliani and reporters, just like he had done during the first six years of his Rossonero career before a four-year stint with Real Madrid.
"It's like going back ten years when I arrived from Sao Paulo," Kaka said with a grin which would never leave his face throughout the day. "It feels like I've never been away. These are special days."
How the "special" return to Lombardy came about was wrapped up in an open anecdote.
"It started at five in the afternoon," recounted the 31-year-old. "My dad [his agent] then came home at midnight and told me everything. So I spoke with my wife Caroline to decide. My dad said I should return and that it would be ideal for me. At half past two in the morning, I called Galliani five times and he didn't pick up.
"A friend answered and said he was sleeping and that he'd said only to be awoken with good news, otherwise we should tell him when he wakes. So we woke him up. As a joke, I told him that I'd decided not to return to Milan."
Within half an hour, Galliani had booked two places on his flight back to Milan, and just after breakfast, the pair were on their way back for a hero's reception at Linate airport.
The greeting they were given was a far cry from the way Galliani sees his club depicted in the Italian media, however.
"I hear things that I don’t like," said Galliani, turning serious for the first time. "There are only seven clubs in Europe who have qualified for the last five group stages of the Champions League: Real, Barcelona, Bayern, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United, along with Milan.
"I've had enough of the stories that times have changed. It seems like Juventus dominated the 2011/12 season, yet they only overtook us in April. I am proud to talk about the past and the present of Milan. We don't feel psychologically inferior to anybody."
Turning to Kaka, the grin returned to Galliani's face as he concluded: "If not, it would seem like you've arrived in a team of idiots."
Kaka assured him that was never his impression anyway: "I think we can win in Italy and do well in Europe. I was used to a Milan who would win things."