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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Reports link Milan's Kaka to Real Madrid move

MILAN (AP) AC Milan star Kaka's future remained unresolved Wednesday amid reports that he could be on his way to Real Madrid in a 65 million euro ($92 million) deal.

Milan vice president Adriano Galliani was in Madrid on Tuesday night to finalize the deal, along with Kaka's father-manager Bosco Leite, Italian sports dailies La Gazzetta dello Sport and Corriere dello Sport reported Wednesday.

After four hours of meetings with Madrid president Florentino Perez, a deal was reached under which Kaka would get 9.5 million euro ($13.5 million) a season for five years, Gazzetta said.

However, there has been no official confirmation from the clubs.

Milan said on its Web site that Galliani was only in Madrid because he had been previously invited to attend a dinner honoring Perez. Madrid said it had nothing to announce.

There were also reports in the British media that Chelsea was trying to "hijack" Kaka's move to Madrid with a late offer for the 2007 world player of the year. Kaka's coach at Milan, Carlo Ancelotti, was appointed Monday as Chelsea's new manager.

Kaka flew home on Monday to Brazil to join the national team for World Cup qualifiers and the Confederations Cup.

Before leaving, however, he insisted he was happy in Milan.

"I want to stay with Milan and from today this issue is over," Kaka said in Gazzetta on Tuesday. "I will say it for the last time, the last time. I don't want to leave Milan."

But AC Milan owner and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi conceded he didn't think he could keep the Brazilian midfielder.

"I don't think we can keep him back because they're offering so much money," he said Tuesday.

Kaka was also the subject of a failed record bid by Manchester City in January that would have made him the best-paid player in soccer, but he turned down the move saying he chose Milan over money.

New Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini said this week he planned to bring in new players to revitalize the club, which finished second in the league behind Barcelona.

Perez instituted the "galactico" policy of signing the game's biggest stars during his first tenure with the club and has pledged a similar approach to the transfer market this offseason.

Barry moves to City

MANCHESTER , England (AP) Manchester City surprisingly signed England midfielder Gareth Barry from Aston Villa on a five-year deal on Tuesday to begin an offseason of big spending to revamp the squad.

The Premier League's richest club paid £12 million ($19.8 million) for the Villa captain, who played more than 400 games for Villa after joining as a trainee 12 years ago.

"Gareth is widely acknowledged as one of the top midfielders in the Premier League," City manager Mark Hughes said.

The 28-year-old Barry almost joined Liverpool a year ago because of what he said was a desire to play in the Champions League but the clubs couldn't agree on a transfer fee. Now, though, he has joined a City side that finished six places and 22 points behind this season's four qualifiers.

While Villa qualified for the Europa League (formerly the UEFA Cup) with a sixth-place finish, City was able to increase Barry's salary to around £80,000 a week without the benefits of European football next season.

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