Riccardo Montolivo, Marco Amelia and Adriano were united in their acclaim for Kaká as the playmaker showed signs of former glories in AC Milan's 1-1 draw with FC Barcelona.
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AC Milan players had plenty to smile about after a 1-1 home draw with FC Barcelona, but the performance of Kaká perhaps stood out. The 31-year-old, who returned to Milan this summer after four seasons at Real Madrid CF, set up Robinho's early opener and inspired much of the Rossoneri's better play. Riccardo Montolivo and Marco Amelia were purring, and even players from Barcelona, who equalised through Lionel Messi, had praise. "I'm very happy for him," said fellow Brazilian Adriano.
Riccardo Montolivo, Milan captain
We are satisfied if also a bit disappointed because I think we had the chance to score a second. However we were up against a very strong Barcelona so let's take this point and go on. They have exceptional players. I have faced them many times now and Barcelona and Spain are two extraordinary sides. I think we played well and it's not the first time we have against them. But the road to qualification is still very long.
We started well, we had great quality especially in the attacking transitions. Robinho, Kaká and Valter [Birsa] all played very well. We didn't do so well in the second half but we still managed to create a couple of good chances and we could have hurt them. I think the team must be satisfied with a point and more so with our approach to the game.
Kaká made a great contribution in terms of quality. Barcelona were advancing with their usual ball possession, so we could steal the ball only very deep but Kaká gave us the chance to counterattack from there with his runs. I'm sure he will become a key player for us.
Marco Amelia, Milan goalkeeper
I think Kaká's performance was the most important thing of the night for us. It's good for the whole environment here, it's good for the rest of the squad, for the fans and it's good for him. He seems very motivated and serene, and his usual pace on the pitch is back. He is still is a great champion. I don't think there is much difference between the player he was here at Milan before leaving and the player he is now. He just needs more stamina to be able to play like that for the whole 90 minutes.
We are very satisfied with the point even if we went close to taking all three in the end. We played well, giving away almost nothing to Barcelona. Maybe we caused them trouble by playing without an outright striker, but I think the whole team did well, fighting hard and not defending too deep. Their goal came from a mistake of us in losing possession. I think we are growing as a team and this point is good for morale. We will go to the Camp Nou to make another step towards qualification.
Adriano, Barcelona defender
We knew it was going to be very difficult. Unfortunately we were not able to grab the three points as we wanted, but a draw must be seen as an important step towards the next round. We can be very satisfied also with the level of our performance. We kept possession for longer than Milan. We're improving match by match and this can give us an extra boost for our domestic games, too.
The next Champions League game, at home against Milan, may be a defining moment for the group. I cannot say that we're strong favourites, but we will be playing at the Camp Nou. Lionel Messi was instrumental tonight, as he can be in any game. It was a bad time for us when Milan were leading, but we stole a ball in midfield and he scored the equaliser. I'm very happy for Kakà, for the champion he is and for the person he is. He was Milan's best player tonight and I do hope he continues like this.
Xavi Hernández, Barcelona captain
The only thing missing was the second goal. We dominated with the exception of the first five minutes. We created a few chances and provided a good account of ourselves. It's never easy to play at San Siro, so we can be glad about the point even if we wanted three – I think we deserved them. We are still unbeaten and we are playing well. There was good intensity tonight and we can be satisfied for the level of our performance.