Kaka expects brace confidence boost
Kaka believes his two goals in the 3-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao will do wonders for his confidence as he seeks to show doubting Real Madrid fans what he can really do after a season of disappointment.
The Brazil international has been sidelined for significant parts of the campaign due to injuries and last night's game at Athletic was his first start since February and only his 13th appearance in all competitions this term.
It was to prove a good night for the £56m man and Madrid though, with Kaka scoring his side's first two goals from the penalty spot before substitute Cristiano Ronaldo added a third midway through the second half to complete the win.
Kaka, the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year, said: "Those two goals are good for my self-confidence, they are very important goals. I understand the fans (criticism towards him). I hope that with time and with important games I can win over the supporters again. I only ask they give me time.
"I need to work hard to enjoy football again. The only problem was with my knee, which limited me from playing all out. I have to work hard in this final stretch of the season. I hope to have fun playing football.
"I feel like I owe it to Real Madrid and the fact that I haven't fulfilled expectations bothers me," added the 28-year-old, who also dismissed suggestions he was looking to leave the Spanish giants and insisted he has no problems with coach Jose Mourinho. "I know what the truth is about my injury. Some have taken advantage of my absence to say I want to go and that's not true. I want to triumph at Madrid," he added in AS.
"My relationship with the coach (Mourinho) is very good. People are saying many things that are not true, but I have no problem with him whatsoever and I'm grateful to him for everything he has done to help me. He's a great coach and he is helping me grow as a footballer."
Madrid's win over Athletic was hugely impressive considering Mourinho made seven changes to the side that started Tuesday's UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg win over Tottenham and rested many of his first-choice stars.
However, it was not enough to cut into Barcelona's eight-point lead heading into next week's mouth-watering showdown between the two at the Bernabeu as the league leaders defeated rock-bottom Almeria later in the evening.
With only seven games left, Barça are overwhelming favourites to retain their league title, but Kaka believes his side can still claim the treble this season.
Aside from the league, Madrid will also meet Barça in the final of the Copa del Rey and the Spanish superpowers look set to clash in the semi-finals of the Champions League as well with both clubs holding big advantages in their respective quarter-final ties.
Kaka added: "Madrid can defeat Barcelona, they are not unbeatable. We have to believe we can win La Liga, the Copa and the Champions League, but first we need to focus on Tottenham."