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Page last updated at 08:38 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 09:38 UK

Kaka tips English clubs for glory

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Brazilian Fifa world player of the year Kaka believes any of the four English clubs could win the Champions League.

English teams have won the trophy only twice in the 15 years since the Premier League was formed but the AC Milan midfielder, 25, expects that to change.

He told BBC Sport: "Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool are all excellent and any of them could win it.

"I believe all the four English clubs have a great chance of making it all the way to the final in Moscow in May."

If one day I had to leave I would like to play in another big European team

AC Milan midfielder Kaka

All four English teams have a chance to progress when the quarter-final second legs take place on Tuesday and Wednesday, with only one definitely going out because Liverpool face Arsenal.

Kaka, who won the competition with Milan in 2007, added: "In the last five or six years, English teams have improved a lot and they are consistently at a high level now.

"But you cannot rule out the other big clubs involved still, such as Barcelona."

Kaka, who is also the reigning Golden Ball winner and FifPro world player of the year, would not rule out playing for one of the Premier League's big clubs in the future.

606: DEBATE

"I am very happy here in Milan but if one day I had to leave I would like to play in another big European team," confirmed the former Sao Paulo star.

"The biggest clubs are in Italy, England and Spain so it would be in one of these countries, although it is clear they play differently in these places.

"I can compare Spain to Brazil as they play a similar type of game, the way the players play.

"The leagues are very similar in the sense that all the teams play very tactically and it is very difficult to score goals.

"I think these three championships are the most important in the world at the present moment, all very good and competitive."

Kaka has played for Milan since 2003 when he signed from Sao Paulo for 4.25m. In his time in Italy he came up against England coach Fabio Capello many times - when the Italian was at Roma and Juventus.

KAKA FACTFILE
Born: 22/4/1982, Brasilia
Full name: Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite
Clubs: Sao Paulo, Milan
Major honours: Serie A (2004), Champions League (2007), Super Cup (2003, 2007) World Cup (2002)
Brazil: 59 apps, 22 goals

Kaka says he believes the Football Association have made a very shrewd appointment, despite the criticism they received for appointing another foreigner in the England post.

"I don't think there is any doubt that Fabio Capello is a very fine manager," said Kaka. "I believe he can win a lot with the England team in the time he spends as the national team manager.

"It would have been something new if Capello had been the first foreign coach with England but Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson has already been there.

"Brazil has always had a Brazilian coach and the same for Italy but in England it has happened before so it's not a big deal having a foreign coach."

Kaka has dropped below his usual sublime standards this season, with Milan lying in fifth place in Serie A and losing to Arsenal in the last 16 of the Champions League too.

But, despite his inconsistent form and a season disrupted by tendinitis in his knee, Kaka wants to experience the high of being named the world's best player again.

"It was a big honour to win the award, there are a lot of players in the world and to come first was a great feeling," he revealed.

Kaka
Kaka (left) has great expectations for fellow countryman Pato

"I'm very happy to have had that and I would like to win it again because the sensation of winning that type of award is unique.

"I don't think I am the best player in the world, I just think I'm one of the best, with others such as Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Thierry Henry and Samuel Eto'o."

Kaka also predicts his Brazilian team-mate at Milan, 18-year-old striking sensation Alexandre Pato, will join him as a winner of the top individual prize in football one day.

"As for Pato, he is an amazing player. He is very young though, only 18-years-old," commented Kaka.

"He has an incredible future ahead of him and he can do a lot of things with Milan. He needs to be allowed to grow and to improve without too much pressure on him."


see also
Liverpool v Arsenal (agg 1-1)
07 Apr 08 |  Europe
Chelsea v Fenerbahce (agg 1-2)
07 Apr 08 |  Europe
Man Utd v Roma (agg 2-0)
07 Apr 08 |  Europe
Alan Hansen's column
07 Apr 08 |  Football
Kaka wins Fifa world player crown
17 Dec 07 |  Football
Tim Vickery column
03 Dec 07 |  Internationals
Kaka named Europe's best player
02 Dec 07 |  Football
Kaka wins world players' accolade
05 Oct 07 |  Football
Kaka v Ronaldo
23 Apr 07 |  Europe
Arsenal 1-1 Liverpool
02 Apr 08 |  Europe
Fenerbahce 2-1 Chelsea
02 Apr 08 |  Europe
Roma 0-2 Man Utd
01 Apr 08 |  Europe
Schalke 0-1 Barcelona
01 Apr 08 |  Europe


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