WFC Preview: All eyes on Kaka as Real Madrid face Milan
A sell-out crowd is expected on Wednesday night when two of the most decorated clubs in European soccer go head-to-head at Yankee Stadium.
The world-renowned baseball stadium will host its second soccer match of the 2012 Herbalife World Football Challenge as Spanish champions Real Madrid meet Serie A runners-up AC Milan (8 pm ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and TSN2).
However, all eyes will be on ex-AC Milan idol Kaká, who now plays for Real Madrid, but is rumored to be the subject of a possible return to the Rossoneri with Italian media reporting a New York summit between the chief executives of the two clubs to discuss the matter.
Real Madrid are not holding Kaká back in light of a potential transfer. The Brazilian started Real Madrid’s first WFC match against the LA Galaxy and then came on as a substitute in Las Vegas on Sunday against Santos Laguna.
Although it’s not clear whether Kaká will start for Real Madrid, AC Milan’s official site has given an advance on the lineup that manager Massimiliano Allegri is expected to use on Wednesday night (4-3-3): Abbiati -- Abate, Bonera, Acerbi, Antonini -- Nocerino, Ambrosini, Flamini -- Cassano, Boateng, Robinho.
In a Wednesday morning press conference, Allegri revealed that midfielder Riccardo Montolivo will not be available due to injury.
If the lineup holds true, Wednesday’s match would represent the preseason debut of starting goalkeeper Christian Abbiati. Also, it would mark the first minutes together for Antonio Cassano and Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Cassano had a standout match in AC Milan’s 3-1 win over Honduran side CD Olimpia at Gillette Stadium last Saturday night. Boateng missed the match after revealing that he made the request of the technical staff.
While AC Milan are on a three-match preseason winning streak with wins over Schalke 04 (1-0), Chelsea (1-0) and Olimpia (3-1), Real Madrid have won three of four preseason matches, including both World Football Challenge outings thus far.
Los Merengues downed the LA Galaxy 5-1 last Thursday and then handed Mexican champions Santos Laguna a 2-1 defeat on Sunday in Las Vegas.
Real Madrid made the long West Coast flight from their training base in LA and arrived into Newark Airport on Tuesday night.
Winger Ángel di María, who missed the match against Santos Laguna with a muscle strain, was back in training with Real Madrid on Monday. Reserve midfielder Alex Fernández, however, is out three weeks for the La Liga champs with a strained MCL in his right knee.
The last time AC Milan and Real Madrid faced off in official competition came in 2010 during the group stage of the UEFA Champions League.