Though focused on preparing his Real Madrid squad for what promises to be a demanding season, new manager Carlo Ancelotti seems to have taken on the reclamation of faded star Kaka as a personal project.
The Italian coach knows firsthand just how good the Brazilian midfielder can be from the time they spent together at AC Milan, where Kaka won the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year Award under Ancelotti's tutelage.
The coach kept a keen eye on Kaka during Monday first day of workouts and the two men were seen chatting amiably.
Ancelotti's top assistant, Zinedine Zidane, was spotted talking to the midfielder during the morning practice session on Tuesday.
Kaka knows this may be his last chance to secure a place in the Blancos starting 11 and the coach has made it clear that the Brazilian's performance in preseason workouts will be decisive.
"I know him very well. I am waiting to see him train and then decide," Ancelotti said. "But I think he is a Madrid player and we will work with him to make him the best possible player for Madrid."
Acquired in 2009 for a transfer fee of 65 million euros ($85 million at the current exchange rate), Kaka has struggled to create a niche for himself in the Real Madrid system.
Injuries and dwindling self-confidence left Kaka relegated to the bench last season.
The arrival of his biggest booster as Real Madrid manager creates the prospect of a second chance for the 31-year-old Brazilian international. EFE