Manchester City former chief executive Garry Cook has revealed that Brazilian midfielder Ricardo Kaka wishes that City five years ago.
Kaka, who has left soccer in Europe to take part in growing MLS as a Designated Player for the new club Orlando City FC, was about to exit AC Milan in 2009 in favor of the Sky Blues, but he turned down an $811,975-a-week salary, a part of a $147.9 million dollar deal with the Premier League squad, to remain in Serie A.
“I have actually bumped into Kaka and he said: ‘Sometimes I wish I had come,'” Cook said to the Blue Moon podcast.
At that point in time, deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Mansour had been in charge for four months after purchasing the team, and City wasn’t considered one of the top-tier sides in England just yet.
Cook recognizes the determination to acquire such a player and the reaction of the public to the possibility of City signing the 2007 Ballon d’Or winner.
“It was an attempt to try and get one of the best players in the world to come to the football club. There is a realism to knowing you have a very, very slight chance but it was a representation of our ambition.
“It made a lot of people go: ‘Hold on a minute, maybe these people are serious’ — which impacts players, impacts the fans, impacts the employees and the world of football is starting to look different. All of a sudden, there is a new kid on the block.”
Instead, Kaka accepted a relocation to Real Madrid two years following City’s pursuit, as the star midfielder inked a six-year deal with the Spanish giant. He made 85 appearances and scored 23 goals for Los Blancos until he made a switch back to Milan for one year.