After steering AC Milan into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League with an inspired performance and a goal in extra time against Celtic FC, Kaká attributed his match-winning performance to his optimistic nature.
The six-time European champions were made to sweat for 120 minutes after the visitors resisted no fewer than 29 goal attempts to secure a 0-0 draw. Kaká came the closest of all in normal time when his 86th-minute drive cannoned back off the crossbar but the Brazilian insisted he always believed the goal would come. "When I hit the bar I didn't lose heart," he told uefa.com. "I never lose heart. I always think on the positive side. I'm an optimist. So I said to myself that although I missed that one I'll score when the next chance comes along."
It did not take long for that opportunity to arise as the 24-year-old midfielder took off on another foraging run three minutes into extra time. Kaká raced fully 40 metres with the ball at his feet in just five and a half seconds before sending it through the legs of Artur Boruc in the Celtic goal. "The pleasing thing is that is I found the energy to make that run even though we'd been playing for a long time," he said.
That was his sixth strike in the competition so far, making him the leading goalscorer alongside Real Madrid CF's Ruud van Nistelrooy. He said: "It's been a funny campaign for me. Although I'm top goalscorer, scoring is not my main objective when I play. I also like to contribute in other areas but clearly it gives me great satisfaction be up at the top of the charts with all those great strikers. It's been a very special UEFA Champions League for me so far."
Milan are now in the draw for the quarter-finals which takes place in Athens, the venue of the final, on Friday but Kaká has no preferred opposition at this stage. "I don't really mind which side we play next," he said. "Milan are a side capable of taking on the big names as well as the less-fancied sides. There aren't many so-called big names left as they were knocked out by the other sides but whoever we play will be tough. Milan are good enough to take on any of the remaining teams. It has been our goal to win this competition from the start and that's what we intend to do.
With every year that passes the greater my hunger to win it becomes. I've never won it before, it's a very special tournament and I'd love to win it."
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