Coach Massimiliano Allegri heaped praise on Kaka’s “extraordinary” performance as Milan drew 1-1 with Group H rival Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday. At times, the former Real Madrid playmaker operated as a makeshift wing-back to help thwart the forward runs of Barca defender Dani Alves. He also set up Robinho’s goal in the 9th minute.
“[Kaka] played an extraordinary game,” Allegri said. “He showed what a champion he is. Yes, at times he even played as fullback -- to be a champion, you don’t only have to be good with your feet, but also with your head.” The 31-year-old lasted 70 minutes in his first start at the San Siro since returning from his four-year spell with Real Madrid, earning a deserved standing ovation.
“I’ve played against Barcelona many times and I’ve understood the importance of their wide men,” Kaka explained to La Gazzetta dello Sport. “Tactically, it was one of those games where we had to make sacrifices and I and [Valter] Birsa on the other side did that. Today, I needed to play as fullback. The coach knows where I like to play, but sometimes you’ve got to make sacrifices.”
Milan is currently second in Group H, two points ahead of third-placed Celtic, which beat 10-man Ajax 2-1 at Parkhead on Tuesday.