Friday Kickoff: Mourinho wants to keep Kaka, Muamba plays again and more

Friday Kickoff: Mourinho wants to keep Kaka, Muamba plays again and more

European Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Mourinho wants to keep Kaka, Muamba plays again and more

Kaka (Reuters Pictures)

Kaka may not be on his way out of the Bernabeu just yet.

Speaking after Real Madrid's 5-1 thrashing of the Los Angeles Galaxy, Madrid coach Jose Mourinho claimed that he wanted to keep the Brazilian playmaker this season, this despite rampant reports that he was headed elsewhere.

"For me there is no problem," Mourinho said. "We will try to get the best out of him. He is a good player. He played well last season and helped us win games. Our hope is that he stays. As a coach I would be happy because he is serious, hardworking and contributes to the group."

Kaka, 30, has failed to replicate his AC Milan form that had him win World Player of the Year honors in 2007 during his time with Madrid, and with the surplus of attacking talent that Madrid has in the midfield, his place on the field has been far from assured under Mourinho.

Kaka's agent has claimed that the Brazilian wants to play in MLS one day, but not for a couple of years. There had been reports that the New York Red Bulls made a serious push to acquire him this summer before making a move for Tim Cahill.

Here are a few more stories from around the soccer world:

MUAMBA PLAYS AGAIN

Fabrice Muamba's recovery from a nearly fatal heart attack has been nothing short of remarkable, and the fact that Muamba has recently played soccer again — no matter if it was in a recreational atmosphere — is just another layer to a tremendous comeback story.

Muamba told CNN World Sport that he played soccer while on vacation with his fiancee, playing for 25 minutes.

"The staff of the hotel usually play against the visitors so I was by the pool and I heard they were playing football," Muamba said. "I was like, 'Ah really?' and I was like 'Yeah' and there's me thinking maybe I should try. Then I went across and saw other footballers playing and I told my friends and Shona. I told her 'I am sorry but I am going to play football'. She goes 'are you sure?' and I say 'yes' and I just went in there.

"It was just to get back into the groove and to get back into momentum. It was just playing like I was training. It was great, I enjoyed it. I just hope to God that I can get in there myself, with the 11 players on the pitch and to play would be fantastic."

Whether Muamba will ever play competitively again remains an uncertainty.

LIVERPOOL, INTER WIN EUROPA OPENERS

Liverpool did not exactly overwhelm, but the Reds are a step closer to the final UEFA Europa League qualifying round.

Stewart Downing's second-half goal stood up, as Liverpool won new manager Brendan Rodgers' competitive debut with the club with a 1-0 victory at Belarusian side Gomel in the first leg of their third qualifying round tie.

Inter Milan had an easier go in their first leg, putting three away goals on Croatian side Hajduk Split in a 3-0 victory. Wesley Sneijder, Yuto Nagatomo and Philippe Coutinho scored for Inter, who are a miracle result at the San Siro away from advancing to the final qualifying round.

LINDEGAARD SIGNS NEW MAN UTD. DEAL

David de Gea's backup will be unchanged for the foreseeable future.

Danish goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard signed a four-year deal with Manchester United, where De Gea is the unquestioned No. 1. Lindegaard started eight league games last season but suffered a knee injury in the winter after showing well.

De Gea stepped up and displayed the form that has him earned the reputation as one of the world's top young goalkeepers, and while he was representing Spain at the Olympics, Lindegaard took the starter's minutes during the preseason.

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Do you think Kaka can find a place on the field for Real Madrid? What do you make of Muamba playing again? What did you think of Liverpool and Inter's Europa League wins? Surprised that Lindegaard would commit his future to a place where he likely won't start?

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