Brazil midfielder Gilberto Silva is confident Kaka can return to the peak of his powers at the FIFA World Cup™ after a debut season at Real Madrid which has been dogged by injury. Kaka started just 21 of Real's 38 league matches in his first season at the Bernabeu because of groin and thigh problems.
Brazil coach Dunga has nursed him back to fitness and although he came off with 12 minutes to go in the 2-1 win over North Korea at Ellis Park, Gilberto is confident the team's most inspirational player will be a force to be reckoned with as the FIFA World Cup progresses.
The Panathinaikos midfielder told Press Association Sport: "In every game he will improve. It is very good to see him because he is really hungry to do well for Brazil and for himself. All the team are behind him and he has got the confidence of everyone. I am sure for the next games he will be much, much better."
Kaka, who was only a bit-part player in the 2002 FIFA World Cup success, will see this tournament as his big chance to play a starring role in a Brazil side at the FIFA World Cup and was cautiously pleased with his own performance. Brazil struggled to break North Korea down and it took until the 55th minute for them to find a breakthrough, and Gilberto insisted it was vital that his team kept passing the ball around and probing for an opening rather than trying to be too hasty.
"When you face an opponent who drop behind the ball, moving the ball around is the only way to try to break through their defence," he said. "If we try too desperately to score a goal that leaves a hole. This is the way we have found to play through the defence and at some stage you hope it works."
Gilberto, who is often unfairly singled out as being a symbol of Dunga's pragmatic approach because of his unfussy work as a defensive midfielder, felt the win was a good one and felt anyone expecting a thrashing was not living in the real world. "What is important for us is to keep doing our jobs in the right way, it was a good start," he said.
"Maybe some people expected us to score four or five goals, something like that, but we must accept that football has changed. If you don't do the right things in the right moment, you will have a problem."
North Korea coach Kim Jong-Hun's tactics almost produced a stunning upset against Brazil and he admits he must now spend time formulating his plan to take on Portugal in Cape Town in a rematch of a famous FIFA World Cup quarter-final at Goodison Park in 1966.
The Koreans led 3-0 before four goals from Eusebio helped Portugal to a 5-3 win, and while it is hard to imagine a goal feast like that in a match featuring the conservative Korean class of 2010, Kim may be prepared to take a few more chances against Cristiano Ronaldo and co, although typically he gave very little away.
He said: "Of course in order to reach our goal we have to win, that is the first priority. I can't reveal all the strategies I have for the next two matches. Until the next match we have some time and during that period we will prepare and review our strategies and decide whether we are going to be more on the attack or more on the defensive."