Superstar Kaka, buoyed by his recent high-profile move from AC Milan to Real Madrid, is ready to accept more responsibility as a senior player with Brazil.
The 27-year-old, who signed a six-year contract with the Spanish giants for a reported fee of 65 million euros earlier this month, recognises his growing stature as a senior player in Dunga’s national team.
His willingness to step up was evident in Brazil’s 4-3 victory over Egypt in the Confederations Cup here.
When the referee blew for a penalty in injury time with the scores tied 3-3, the Brazil No.10 showed no hesitation, immediately making his way to the spot before placing his strike past goalkeeper Essam El Hadary.
“Yes, I’m now a leader within the squad. Definitely not the only one, but one of several,” he told Fifa.com.
“It is to be expected that more senior players such as myself, Gilberto Silva, Lucio or even Robinho should take on more responsibilities.
“It’s a role that I take in my stride as it’s a natural progression, it’s not something that was forced upon me.”
His decision to step forward for the penalty kick in a pressure situation was seen by many as a defining moment and one that he said he had learned to handle during his time at AC Milan.
“I think that my attitude is what people expect from me in the national team,” said the midfielder, who will link up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Real next season after the Portuguese forward’s move from Manchester United.
“As for the crucial penalty against Egypt, for example, I’m used to those situations from my last few seasons at AC Milan, so it’s only natural that I should perform a similar role for the national team.”
Kaka was at AC Milan since arriving from Sao Paolo in 2003, scoring 70 goals in Serie A and 23 in the Champions League.
He won the 2007 Champions League with them, the 2004 league title, two European Super Cups and the world club championship in 2007.
His experience also stretches to World Cups.
He was part of the winning squad at Korea/Japan in 2002, though in a peripheral role, and was a starter at Germany 2006 in a team packed with household names like Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Cafu and Ronaldinho.
Despite his high-profile summer transfer the Brasilia-born attacking midfielder, crowned FIFA World Player of the Year in 2007, was not at his best last season, spending time on the sidelines with injuries.
But he is now fit and gnashing at the bit, keen to see Brazil win the Confederations Cup and do well at the World Cup in South Africa next year.
“Playing in the Confederations Cup is a great opportunity ahead of the 2010 World Cup, and as long as we remain strong in adversity like against Egypt, I think we’ll be on the right track,” he said.
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