Kaka Gets Number 8 At Real Madrid

Over 40,000 fans packed into the Santiago Bernabeu this evening to see the arrival of one man at Real Madrid, and it is fair to say they did not seem disappointed. Kaka's first appearance as a Madrid player in the White House was an occasion that grew louder and louder as the evening went on. The opening words from Florentino Perez greeting the Brazilian to the club caused quite a stir, but that was soon overtaken as the former AC Milan man himself walked up onto the stage, applauding all the way. Even then as he stood and smiled as Perez continued to talk, the fans cheered and chanted, and only finally came to a hush when Kaka took charge of the microphone. "Thank you president, good evening to all Madridistas. This is very special for me. I'm very happy to take my career here to Real Madrid," he began. "There is nothing comparable to the history of this club. Hala Madrid!" The final two words were greeted with the loudest roar of the evening and even when minutes later he was handed his top with the number eight on, the fans were still singing his name. A quick lap around the stadium slapping hands with the hands and applauding them was a fitting end to the evening before he wandered back down the tunnel with his number clear for all to see. In recent times the '8' jersey has been worn by Steve McManaman, Michel, Ruben and last year by Fernando Gago. As Jorge Valdano, Real Madrid director explained, the decision does not mean Gago is leaving, just he is changing number too. "I want to clear up the reason why he has been given the number 8 jersey. As you know, numbers 5, 18 and 9 were not assigned. We knew that Fernando Gago wanted to wear the no. 5 - that is something that us Argentinians understand very well, it's a very special number for us. So we gave Kaka the number 8, which he was very happy to have," he mused. "So for the first time at Real Madrid, we made two people happy at the very same time."


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