Madrid:Real Madrid confirmed the signing of Brazil star Kaka in the first step in club president Florentino Perez' plan to return the Spanish side to the glory days of its "galactico" era.
While Real Madrid did not disclose financial details of Kaka's switch from AC Milan, reports say the figure is in the region of euro65 million ($ 92 million), eclipsing the largest previous transfer set by Zinedine Zidane when he joined Madrid from Juventus for $ 65 million in 2001.
Kaka, 27, training with the national team in Brazil ahead of the next round of World Cup qualifiers, said the finalization of the six-year contract marked the end of a "soap opera" that will usher in a new phase of his career in Spain.
"Now the soap opera is over," Kaka told a media conference after a practice ahead of Wednesday's Brazil-Paraguay qualifier in the northeastern coastal city of Recife. "The only leftover details were the medical exams, and I've done them. The negotiations are closed and I have sealed my transfer to Real Madrid."
Kaka passed a medical in Recife earlier yesterday. "Kaka is one of the players that every team would like to have and Madrid had the chance to get him," Perez told Spanish radio station Onda Cero just before the signing was announced.
Kaka is the first player to join Madrid since Perez regained the club presidency unopposed last week. Future targets already discussed include Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo and Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich.
Perez has said he intends to revive his "galactico" policy which, along with Zidane, attracted star players such as David Beckham, Brazilian striker Ronaldo and Portugal star Luis Figo to Madrid earlier in the decade.
Kaka described Perez' strategy as "an interesting sports project."
"He's trying to buy other players, and I think he can make a very (attacking) team," he said. "That's behind my decision to go to this team."
Kaka said he talked with Beckham about his transfer, and the England veteran told him it would be the best step for his career.
"I hope to be part of this new project and help to win titles, both European and Spanish," he said.
Kaka, the 2007 FIFA world player of the year, turned down a record euro100 million transfer to Manchester City in January.
Despite previously saying he was happy at AC Milan, the size and timing of Madrid's bid appears to have proved too much for the Italian Serie A champion to ignore.
Last week, Milan president Silvio Berlusconi and chairman Adriano Galliani said the club had made huge financial losses in recent times.
Madrid's interest in signing Kaka goes back some years. Former Madrid president Ramon Calderon pledged to sign the player in 2006 when he was running for election.
Perez told Onda Cero that Madrid's pursuit of Kaka, whose real name is Ricardo Ezecson Dos Santos Leite, was aided by a collaborative agreement it has with Milan.
Milan vice president Adriano Galliani was reportedly in the Spanish capital last Tuesday to pave the way for the deal, along with Kaka's father and manager Bosco Leite.
Perez is hoping to revive Madrid's fortunes after a poor season in which it failed to win any silverware while archrival Barcelona won the European Champions League and the domestic league and cup double.
Nine-time European champion Madrid has not reached the quarterfinals of Europe's top club competition in the past five seasons.
Kaka said while he believes Argentine striker Lionel Messi of Barcelona should be declared the best player in the world, he hopes Madrid will overcome its Spanish rival.
"I hope this Barcelona domination ends and that Real Madrid wins the new titles," Kaka said.
Last week, Madrid appointed Chilean Manuel Pellegrini, formerly of Villarreal, to replace Juande Ramos as coach.
The departure of Kaka, who won the Champions League with Milan in 2007 and the Italian league in 2004, came a week after coach Carlo Ancelotti left to take charge of Chelsea.
Kaka has scored 70 Serie A goals 23 in the Champions League since joining AC Milan from Sao Paolo in 2003.