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Altintop finally bids goodbye to Madrid, now Kaka must follow
- Updated: 17 July, 2012
After little more than a year, Hamit Altintop’s Real Madrid career is over, with the midfielder heading to Turkey last week to sign a four year contract with Galatasaray. A fee of €3.5 million for a 29-year-old who arrived on a free transfer seems like good business, until one considers that Real have shelled out an undisclosed signing-on fee and a salary of €3 million over the past twelve months for a player who started just five games in all competitions.
So where did it all go wrong for Altintop, and why have Madrid decided to let him move on with three years still remaining on his contract? On the face of it, paying nothing for an established Turkish international, who had won two Bundesliga titles with Bayern Munich and appeared in a Champions League final over the previous four seasons must have seemed like a win-win situation to the powers that be.
However the warning signs were there even before Altintop arrived in the Spanish capital. The final year of his Bayern contract had turned sour, with him accusing then boss Louis van Gaal of disrespecting him by giving him scant playing time, and this was the reason given for his refusal to sign a new contract. Quite why he thought a move to the Bernabeu would solve this problem is a mystery, bearing in mind that their star-studded squad was never likely to afford him a regular starting berth.
Altintop’s bit part role has been still further reduced by injuries, and whilst Jose Mourinho has been keen to state that Nuri Sahin remains part of his plans, despite having a similarly underwelming first season, it has been clear for a couple of months that he is more than happy to let his other Turkish midfielder move on. The only question mark about this piece of business is why the club did not seek to secure a higher transfer fee by dangling him in the direction of the Premier League, but they have at least more or less recouped their investment.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said with regard to Kaká, with the club desperate to sell the Brazilian midfielder for a fraction of the €65 million which they agreed to pay when they signed him in the summer of 2009. This may seem harsh when one considers a return on 20 goals in the 66 games in which he has featured, but the fact remains that Mourinho has never viewed him as indispensable, and the imminent arrival of Luke Modric would seem to limit his opportunities still further.
If Kaká were to see out the remaining three years of his contract, it would cost ‘los merengue’ a staggering €40 million in wages, as well as the €30 million which they still owe from his initial transfer fee. With this in mind, the club are desperately hoping that former club AC Milan, the only team to express a firm interest in signing him, will renew their interest.
The Italians have recently banked a sizeable sum from the sale of Thiago Silva and Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Paris St Germain, and may yet be willing to reinvest some of it on a player who has been hampered by injuries in recent seasons, and who turned 30 in April. If they do not, and the cash rich Middle and Far East leagues also remain silent, Kaká may find himself in a familiar role next season, as the most expensive bench warmer in history.Follow @icentrocampista