Take a minute to reach deep into the recesses of your memory to recall Kaka.
Remember that two year period the Red Bulls were connected to the Brazilian attacking midfielder? The on again, off again rumors, the signing of his utterly useless brother to play the role of
center back human bargaining chip. Remember all that?
Well, Dave Martinez is more than happy to foist them on you. Over at Empire of Soccer, Martinez has a story up on how close the Red Bulls were to inking Kaka, who became Orlando City's first designated player yesterday...
"I spoke to the New York Red Bulls about two years ago when I was still with Real Madrid," he told reporters via conference call. "We came very close to signing a deal, but in the end, because of all the things happening with the clubs, we never came to a deal."
The Kaka-to-Red Bulls saga was always a convoluted one, going off the rails pretty much as soon as it started. In the salad days of June 2012 and the Red Bulls were connected to, in varying degrees of seriousness, to Kaka, Stephen Ireland and Michael Ballack. At the time, there were accusations of foul play on the part of MLS, but also reports that the Red Bulls were negotiating with a player without any interference from the league.
That player could have been Kaka, but it just as easily could have been Ireland, who they were reportedly closing in on a deal for that spring. After all, a few weeks before #RBNY exploded, Kaka-to-Red Bulls was brushed off as "nothing serious." In July, the Red Bulls signed Tim Cahill, but rumors persisted and hinged on moving Rafael Marquez to another MLS team or back to Mexico. There were even rumors the Red Bulls put in the biggest bid for Kaka.
Unfortunately, the Red Bulls were unable to turn Marquez into Kaka, but that didn't kill the rumors. No, they weren't pronounced dead for another calendar year, with Brian Lewis of the New York Post acting as the chief medical examiner. Part of the reasoning was a shift in organizational philosophy, away from big, flashy names on the wrong side of 30 and more toward Diego Valeri-types, guys less name recognition, but much less milage and come cheaper.
Shortly afterward the rumors were laid to rest, with the Red Bulls severing ties with his really, truly awful brother. Kaka headed to Italy, signing with AC Milan.
That winter, there were also some rumors connecting him to the LA Galaxy, but that was a non-starter, too. "We couldn't reach a deal either, he said on the call.
Kaka could've been talking about either of those summers, 2012 or 2013, though there's a preponderance of evidence to suggest it was 2012. It certainly looked like the stars were aligning, one-and-a-half (let's be honest, Marquez wanted out as much as the Red Bulls wanted to get rid of him) designated player slots, the media reports, etc. It almost makes too much sense.
Not that it matters at this point. Kaka is with Orlando City, bringing major publicity to the expansion side, and the Red Bulls won a major trophy without him.