Berlusconi hints at Kaka exit
© AFP

AC Milan owner Silvio Berlusconi has hinted that he is in favour of the proposed 100 million euro transfer of Kaka to Manchester City.

The English Premier League team's interest in Kaka has been much documented with current rumours suggesting a bid in excess of 100 million euros is on the table with Kaka set to more than double his salary to 15 million euros-a-season if he moves. Milan have not publicly accepted any offer but have given Kaka permission to speak to City and Berlusconi doesn't seem to be doing anything to try to hold onto his star Brazilian.

"Nothing is decided yet but it is very difficult to ask someone to stay and respect his contract when he has been offered such a huge amount of money," said the Italian Prime Minister. "You have to act in a moral way, like a big brother, as I did with Sheva (Andrei Shevchenko). I didn't know how to say no to him when the offer came in from Chelsea."

Berlusconi may claim that he can't prevent Kaka from signing for City with such money on offer but Milan did manage to reject a lower bid from Chelsea for the Brazilian last year. And following Milan's UEFA Champions League final victory over Liverpool in 2007 he described Kaka as the 'symbol' of the club and said he would never let him leave.

However, money seems to be the motivating factor with what seems an imminent acceptance of City's bid, with the PM finding a convenient excuse not to fight to hold onto Kaka. "We can't possibly increase the salaries for everyone as we would have to do to keep hold of Kaka," he said.

Nothing is decided yet but it is very difficult to ask someone to stay and respect his contract when he has been offered such a huge amount of money.
Berlusconi on Kaka.

"I've already said it and (vice-president) Adriano Galliani believes it too but my reasoning is clear: you can't say no to a lad who has a short career and who has the potential to earn much more than he is currently being paid. On the other hand we can't raise his salary because it's already very high and we would have to raise the salary of all the other players as well."

Yet despite that, Berlusconi tried to avoid angering the club's fans, some of whom protested on Friday against the sale of Kaka. "I hope he stays," said the politician.

Kaka himself said earlier in the week that he wants to stay at Milan and hopes to one day captain the club. Coach Carlo Ancelotti is also hopeful of keeping hold of the former FIFA World Player of the Year but admitted on Friday that Milan could live without the 26-year-old.

"My personal wish is to be able to coach Kaka for several years to come because he's an important player and fundamental to the team," said Ancelotti. "With or without Kaka the club's objectives remain the same. The minimum aim (this season) is to qualify for next season's Champions League and to win the UEFA Cup. Even if we lose a player as important as Kaka the side will remain competitive for the title."

The Kaka saga has seen many twists and turns this week with a report on an Arabian Business website claiming on Thursday that the deal was dead, only for City's manager Mark Hughes to later claim that negotiations were ongoing and at an advanced stage.

"I've seen these reports but you have to bear in mind that the people who are being given a platform to speak do not represent the owner (Sheikh Mansour) or (chairman) Khaldoon (Al Mubarak)," said Hughes. "In my opinion they should not be given a platform to say what they have because in this instance it is completely untrue because negotiations are still taking place. It is impossible to say whether it will go through or not but we will let everyone know when there is something to say."

Rumours surrounding the exact figure on the table vary wildly but it is more than 100 million euros with the British media claiming it could be as much as 120 million euros for the club and 30 million euros in agents' fees. Kaka joined Milan in 2003 and has a contract at the San Siro up to 2013.