Brazil team doctor Jose Luiz Runco admitted on Sunday that star midfielder Kaka, who failed to shine at the FIFA™World Cup, was not properly fit and would not have played at a lesser event.
"Maybe in other situations Kaka would not have played even the World Cup, but he really wanted to be there," said Runco as the squad touched down in Rio following their flight back from South Africa.
Kaka came into the tournament on the back of a disappointing season with Real Madrid which was marred by thigh problems which forced him to miss more than six weeks of the season. And when he did play the 65 million-euro summer signing from AC Milan did not hit the heights, prompting him to admit that he had himself not been happy.
Brazil were eliminated by the Netherlands in a 2-1 defeat in the quarter-finals. On the squad's return to Rio after a ten-hour flight from South Africa, players had insults hurled at them by angry fans. Felipe Melo, who diverted a Wesley Sneijder free-kick into the net for the Dutch equaliser and was later sent off, was the focus of much of their ire.
Protected by bodyguards, the Juventus player had to run for cover towards a vehicle driven by his father after supporters left him in no doubt as to their displeasure, even though the players were taken through a side door to avoid potential angry hordes at the main exit.
Fans were more forgiving with goalkeeper Julio Cesar, some shouting out their gratitude for what they saw as a good showing overall by the Inter Milan custodian who was tearful after the Dutch defeat. He also stopped to speak. "I am very emotional - I want to thank the Brazilian fans. This was the fruit of three-and-a-half years of work," he said before being driven off along with his mother.
Kleberson, Gilberto Melo, Juan and Thiago Silva also had to run the gauntlet along with team doctor Runco and technical assistant Jorginho. The remainder of the squad carried on to Sao Paulo.