Ronaldo says Kaka is indispensable

MADRID - Real Madrid's Brazilian midfielder Kaka, sidelined since the end of November with a hernia, is "indispensable" to the Spanish giants, his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo said in an interview published yesterday.

MADRID - Real Madrid's Brazilian midfielder Kaka, sidelined since the end of November with a hernia, is "indispensable" to the Spanish giants, his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo said in an interview published yesterday.

Real have won all four of their matches in Kaka's absence, leading some in the Spanish media to suggest that Real play better without the ß65million (R694,4million) summer signing from AC Milan.

"One can say whatever one wants, but for me Kaka is a phenomenon, I hope he will return quickly, he is indispensable for Real's success," Ronaldo told Spanish sports daily Marca.

Kaka, the winner in 2007 of the Golden Ball awarded to the European Footballer of the Year by France Football magazine, returned to training earlier this week.

The 27-year-old could be called up to the squad to face Osasuna in the league on Sunday in Pamplona.

Real went into the Christmas break two points behind leaders and champions Barcelona in the Primera Liga.

Meanwhile, rival sports daily AS reported that Ronaldo, who joined Real in June in a six-year deal worth around R1billion, making him the world's most expensive player, has already become the most profitable player in the history of the Spanish club.

Portugal's Ronaldo, 24, has replaced England's David Beckham, 34, as the world's top football advertising icon, generating up to R850million in advertising revenues each year.

In October Italian fashion designer Armani announced that Ronaldo would model his underwear and jeans in a new worldwide advertising campaign that will start early next year.

Beckham posed for Armani adverts last year. - Sapa-AFP

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