Monday Kickoff: Bale introduced at Real Madrid; Kaka returns to AC Milan; and more

Monday Kickoff: Bale introduced at Real Madrid; Kaka returns to AC Milan; and more

South American Soccer

Monday Kickoff: Bale introduced at Real Madrid; Kaka returns to AC Milan; and more

GarethBaleRealMadridintroduction4 (AP)

By DAN KARELL

In front of thousands of fans at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium, Gareth Bale was officially introduced as the latest Real Madrid player.

The Welshman, who signed his six-year contract with the club just moments earlier, became the most expensive transfer in history with a transfer deal from Tottenham worth more than $132 million. Bale took pictures with his new No. 11 jersey, and then took the pitch to thank the large crowd of fans, as well as show off his language and soccer skills.

“It’s incredible to be here. It’s a dream for me to play for Madrid,” Bale said, as translated by AS. “Thank you for this great welcome. I hope I can help bring success to the club and that we can win the club’s 10th European Cup.”

The 24-year-old Premier League Player of the Year will be expected to repeat his performances last season with Tottenham, as Real Madrid has offloaded Kaka, Gonzalo Higuain, and the latest name, Mesut Özil.

Here are some more stories to get your Monday kicked off:

KAKA RETURNS TO AC MILAN

While Gareth Bale was being triumphantly presented in Madrid, arguably his predecessor at Madrid was quickly leaving the Spanish capital on his way back to Italy.

After claiming late last week in a stunning announcement that he wanted to leave Real Madrid, Kaka has officially transferred to AC Milan, reuniting him with the club where he played from 2003 until 2009. Kaka’s deal is reportedly a free transfer, and he’s agreed to slash his wages, to a reported €4 million per season.

“Four years have passed and now I’m back,” Kaka told the club’s website. “It’s been two weeks that I thought if I could come back, a return to Milan would be ideal for me. In the last few days, I’ve been dreaming of hearing the fans sing my name in the San Siro again.”

While at Milan, Kaka grew himself into one of the best players in the world, World Player of the Year (Ballon D’or) in 2007 after winning the Champions League with his side.

ARSENAL MAKING MOVES ON DEADLINE DAY

If the reports are true, Arsenal is ready to open the checkbook and splash the cash on multiple signings in the final day of the English transfer window.

After a gritty 1-0 victory over arch-rivals Tottenham on Sunday, Arsenal are close to smashing their transfer record, having agreed a £42.4 million fee with Real Madrid for midfielder Mesut Özil. The German international is currently in Germany with the national team, but according to reports in Germany, Özil is completing his medical while over there ahead of signing for Arsenal.

Last week, Özil announced that he wanted to stay at Real Madrid, but the Spanish club have agreed Arsenal’s fee and now all that’s left for the deal to become official is the 24-year-old midfielder signing a contract with the Gunners.

In addition to a potential Özil signing, manager Arsene Wenger is also nearing the signing of Palermo goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano and a season-long loan of Chelsea forward Demba Ba.

QUICK KICKS

Lille have agreed to sell want-away France Under-21 striker Florian Thauvin to Marseille for €15 million. (REPORT)

Liverpool have completed the double signing of Paris Saint-Germain defender Mamadou Sakho and Sporting Lisbon’s Tiago Ilori for a combined £25 million, as well as signing Victor Moses on a season-long loan from Chelsea. (REPORT)

Argentine midfielder Pablo Piatti has announced that he’ll be remaining at Valencia this season. (REPORT)

Hertha Berlin have acquired Norwegian international midfielder Per Ciljan Skjelbred on a season-long loan from Hamburg. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Impressed with Bale’s introduction? Do you see Kaka finding his prior Milan form once more? Do you see Arsenal wrapping up the Özil signing?

Share your thoughts below.

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