City also lured Ballon d’Or winner to Etihad Stadium in world record deal.
Manchester City DID have a £100m bid accepted for AC Milan playmaker Kaka in 2009, according to the Citizens former chief executive Gary Cook.
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Cook received criticism for botching the potentially world record deal for the Brazilian Ballon d’Or winner but he famously labelled the Serie A giants ‘bottlers’ for reneging on the move.
But Cook claims Milan agreed the deal and he even posed with a Kaka Man City shirt.
“I received a lot of criticism for saying that AC Milan bottled it over Kaka – but there is no other way to describe it,” Cook is quoted as saying by The Daily Mirror.
“I’ve still got the documentation that confirmed Milan had agreed to sell the player to us. In fact, I have got a picture where I am holding up a City shirt with Kaka on the back with Milan CEO Adriano Galliani. That’s how far we had got.
“But it was clear they had underestimated how selling Kaka would upset the fans and when I went to negotiate with the player’s father about terms, it was clear something wasn’t right. They started making the most outrageous demands. There was no way we could meet those terms and I remember asking what the hell was going on.”
Cook believes AC Milan owner and then-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi saw the chance to keep Kaka as a PR stunt to aid his popularity with the Milan supporters.
“When I saw television pictures of Kaka stood on a balcony waving a Milan shirt over his head, I knew it was time to get out of there.”
“My belief is that Berlusconi recognised a PR opportunity. Mr Berlusconi is a skilled politician and it seems that he saw a chance to make some political capital for himself with the people of Milan.”
The attacker consequently joined Real Madrid for a whopping £50m later in 2009 but Kaka’s spell in Spain was an unhappy one and he returned to the San Siro this summer.
Cook claims he spoke to Kaka at the wedding of former City forward Robinho, now at AC Milan, and the playmaker admitted he regretted not joining City.
“Milan agreed to sell Kaka to us. When they saw the negative reaction of the fans, they went back on their word.
“I later saw Kaka at Robinho’s wedding. He admitted that maybe he should have signed for City and that maybe we could try for him again. I told him that ship had sailed.
“I recently met Kaka again at a UFC event and this time he admitted that he deeply regretted not signing for City.”