Washed-up Brazilian legend Kaká was originally left off of his country’s Copa América roster because he is old and past it and plays in MLS, the old-timers’ league. With Brazilian internationals dropping like flies to injury in the lead up to the tournament, manager Dunga eventually did give Kaká a spot on the roster. Then Kaká got hurt, and Dunga chose that moment to shade the player’s current employers.
Here’s what Dunga had to say this week about Kaká’s injury and his odds of ever getting another shot at representing Brazil, from ESPN FC:
“Kaka is one of the reference points or trademarks of Brazilian football,” Dunga told the Orlando Sentinel. “He’s been unfit the last two appearances, he had an injury. Maybe it is because of the training of the Brazil team, the quality and intensity of the game maybe is different from what he’s used to.
“But, football is something you can never be definite about. You never know what tomorrow will bring. You can never say never.”
The dart is subtle. He’s saying that Kaká may no longer be accustomed to the rigors of Real Soccer Training after spending too much time in that wimpy little rinky-dink league of his. Subtle, but definitely pointed.
Kaká’s team, Orlando City, understandably felt offended. A team executive defended the league’s credentials in the local paper, more or less saying “Nuh uh, you have to run hard and play good to hack it in our league, too!”:
“It is very sad to see someone using prejudice to justify Kaka’s injury,” Kotscho told the newspaper. “MLS is a very physical league and the work we do here and all over MLS with the players is referenced worldwide. Our training facility and professionals are world class.
“Brazil has five injured players in one week, players from many places. MLS has some weaknesses; Physical training for sure isn’t in this list. He can’t come to our city [and] disrespect professionals that he doesn’t know without answer.”
Whether Dunga—a shitty manager who fits right along with Brazil’s baffling preference for unimaginative national team coaches that somehow build boring and bad teams from arguably the best player pool in the world—is right or wrong here isn’t really the point. The point—if Antonio Conte’s and Juan Carlos Osorio’s statements hadn’t driven it home already—is that the league cannot avoid hearing, in the immortal words of Dr. Dre, “Here’s what they think about you.”