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Anger, emotion in Milan amid Kaka rumors

  • Story Highlights
  • Milan fans express anger over Kaka's rumored $150M move to Manchester City
  • Fans wave banknotes at club officials, display "Hands off Kaka" banners
  • Brazilian waved to fans, beat chest with fist, at start and end of match
  • Milan have admitted 26-year-old could leave club in a world record deal
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From CNN Rome Correspondent Alessio Vinci
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(CNN) -- Those who were in AC Milan's San Siro stadium Saturday night for the Italian club's Serie A clash with Fiorentina say the atmosphere felt like a long "good bye."

Kaka waves to supporters during Milan's match with Fiorentina on Saturday.

Kaka waves to supporters during Milan's match with Fiorentina on Saturday.

As Kaka entered the pitch he took a long look around and then beat his fist on his chest -- a gesture commonly used by footballers to display their loyalty to supporters. Was he saying Milan will always be in his heart? Or was he simply giving everyone a heartfelt "saludo"?

Kaka, Milan's Brazilian superstar and a former world footballer of the year, is reported to be the subject of a $150 million bid from super-rich English club Manchester City that would smash football's transfer word record.

Milan's supporters are on Kaka's side, because they believe it is club officials who want to sell him. Silvio Berlusconi, no longer the club's president but the man in charge when it comes to make major decisions, said this week that it was difficult to ask someone who earns 10 million euros a year to turn down an offer of 15 million euros, adding "It's a difficult offer to refuse."

Berlusconi is counting his own money. Italy's prime minister is also the country's richest man and he remains businessman at heart. He purchased Kaka in 2003 for $7.5 million (roughly 8 million euros at the time). Selling him on would generate a massive profit on his investment -- in cash and paid up front.

Privately, most Milan supporters would probably agree with Berlusconi's reasoning. After all, when so much money is at stake, your head as much as your heart must decide, and the ball at this point is with Kaka rather than club officials.

Still supporters displayed a mix of anger and sarcasm on Saturday evening. "Hands off Kaka" read one banner, while another said: "I thought the devil could not sell its soul, but I was wrong," referring to Milan's devil's head logo.

"Berlusconi, Interista" read another one, referring to Inter, the city's other top team and AC Milan's archrivals.

In a choreographed protest 30 minutes into Saturday's match, hundreds of supporters occupying a section of the central stand waved 50-euro notes towards AC Milan President Adriano Galliani, sitting just above them.

Galliani didn't react, but perhaps thought to himself that the money wasn't even enough to pay Kaka's wages for a day.

The 26-year-old will reportedly earn around $500,000 a week at Manchester City. Likewise, the 5,000 supporters who signed a petition to keep the Brazilian star in Milan would have to pay $100 a week each to match the offer.


A single banner criticized the player. "I belong to money" it read, referring to the "I belong to Jesus" t-shirt Kaka has displayed occasionally after scoring a goal. The banner stayed up only a few minutes but then mysteriously disappeared. Even on this emotional evening at the San Siro there was no room for criticism of the fans' Brazilian hero.

At the end of the game Kaka's teammates hugged him and he waved again towards the supporters. Was he saying goodbye to them -- or to a $150 million move to Manchester?

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