Skip to content

Kaká not what MLS needs, but he certainly won’t hurt

Dec 6, 2012, 1:49 PM EDT

Kaka AP

Noah Davis made a good point on this site yesterday. MLS has greater needs than another big name star. We’ve seen the effect a player like Thierry Henry’s had, and it’s just not the same as David Beckham’s. The contribution on the field is immense, and that addresses a number of needs (quality of play, general perception of league – both domestically and internationally), but when you’re talking about a $5 million annual salary (and Kaká will certainly earn more), it’s worth considering the other places you can put that money.

Thankfully, MLS is in a situation where it doesn’t have to be an either-or scenario. Just because one affluent team snags a former Ballon d’Or winner doesn’t mean the league can’t make developing and keeping young talent a priority. Perhaps the messages are mixed – the headline-grabbing veterans overshadowing the dedication to nurturing talent – but the reality is clear. You can have players like Beckham, Henry, and Kaká and still be serious about other aspects of the league.

All things being equal, I’d rather the league spend more money on retaining and developing young players than luring icons, but presenting that as a dichotomy is a common flaw of our rhetoric. As we debate issues and try to develop preferences, it helps to juxtapose two ideas against another, if for no other reason than to narrow the discussion. But once we’ve made that evaluation, we often forget to step back and remember the world’s more complicated than a light switch. Even after we’ve developed preferences, we don’t always have to choose. Just because the league pursues Kaká doesn’t mean that is MLS’s (or even the Galaxy’s) top-line priority.

The obvious rebuttal: Why not just take the eight or 10 million per season you’re going to give Kaká and put it straight into development? It’s a good suggestion, but somebody would need to assess what you’re getting for that extra money. Are there players being missed or under-developed now that a surge into development efforts would save? How efficiently can that money be spent before various factors bring on diminishing returns? And we can’t ignore the argument that having players like Kaká and Henry help the league’s brand and quality. That may have an effect on the bottom line which would allow greater long-term investment.

Based on what was overheard at MLS Cup, Major League Soccer is committed to investing more money in the on-field product. There are CBA issues to work out, but if those obstacles are hurdled, you could see more Javier Morales-types brought into the league while players like Omar Gonzalez and Brek Shea are given greater incentive to stay home.

Nothing about the Galaxy buying Kaká would preclude that investment. Thus, the choice becomes simple: Would you like to have a league with Kaká? Or one without Kaká?

Latest Posts
  1. Watch Live: Newcastle United vs. West Ham United (Lineups and Live Stream)

    May 24, 2015, 9:24 AM EDT

    Aston Villa v Newcastle United - Premier League Getty Images

    Papiss Cisse and Emmanuel Riviere will lead Newcastle’s charge. Former NUFC manager Sam Allardyce will use ex-NUFC captain Kevin Nolan.

  2. Watch Live: Stoke City vs. Liverpool (Lineups and Live Stream)

    May 24, 2015, 9:23 AM EDT

    Gerrard AP

    Gerrard makes his final appearance for the Reds. Will he get a winning finish? Watch live online.

  3. Watch Live: Manchester City vs. Southampton (Lineups and Live Stream)

    May 24, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    Southampton v Aston Villa - Premier League Getty Images

    Can the Saints win to seal a spot in the top six? Watch live online, here.

  4. Watch Live: Chelsea vs Sunderland (Lineups and Live Stream)

    May 24, 2015, 9:15 AM EDT

    DrogbaCech Getty Images

    Didier Drogba and Petr Cech both make what is likely their final appearances for Chelsea as the Blues look forward to lifting the championship trophy.

  5. Watch Live: Hull City vs. Manchester United (Lineups and Live Stream)

    May 24, 2015, 9:08 AM EDT

    Manchester United v Hull City - Premier League Manchester United v Hull City - Premier League

    The Tigers must win to have a chance of survival. Can they pull off the “great escape” at the KC? Watch live, here.

  6. WATCH: Premier League online via NBC Sports Live Extra – Championship Sunday

    May 24, 2015, 8:45 AM EDT

    Live Extra

    How and where to watch all 10 games on the final day of the 2014-15 Premier League season.

  7. Didier Drogba will play his last match for Chelsea today

    May 24, 2015, 8:31 AM EDT

    Drogba Getty Images

    The Ivorian international will say farewell to Stamford Bridge for the second time in his career looking to extend his career elsewhere.

  8. Report: Falcao told he will not return to Manchester United

    May 24, 2015, 8:03 AM EDT

    Falcao Getty Images

    The Colombian striker will not be back at Old Trafford next season as Louis van Gaal will not trigger the buy option on his expensive loan from Monaco. However, he could look to stay in the Premier League next year.

  9. Geoff Cameron inks new three-year contract at Stoke City

    May 24, 2015, 7:33 AM EDT

    Cameron Getty Images

    The US international has become a Premier League regular and it looks to stay that way for the next three years.

  10. MLS Snapshot: Seattle Sounders 0-0 Sporting Kansas City

    May 24, 2015, 12:10 AM EDT

    Benny Feilhaber, Sporting Kansas City Benny Feilhaber, Sporting Kansas City

    To grind out a point in Sporting KC’s current predicament is impressive, but the Sounders were very, very poor.

  11. MLS Snapshot: Montreal Impact 2-1 FC Dallas

    May 23, 2015, 10:06 PM EDT

    Jack McInerney, Montreal Impact Jack McInerney, Montreal Impact

    Last-place beats 1st-place — in other words, just another typical night in MLS!

  12. MLS Snapshot: New England Revolution 1-1 D.C. United

    May 23, 2015, 9:40 PM EDT

    Jermaine Jones, New England Revolution Jermaine Jones, New England Revolution

    Two New England red cards changed the course of the game, which allowed the D.C. to claw back and steal a point (barely).

  13. MLS Snapshot: Toronto FC 1-0 Portland Timbers

    May 23, 2015, 7:30 PM EDT

    Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC Sebastian Giovinco, Toronto FC

    At what point is it no longer “early, still plenty of time” for the Timbers? We’re almost there.

  14. La Liga & Serie A roundup: Ronaldo hat trick as Real Madrid score 7; Juventus top Napoli

    May 23, 2015, 6:09 PM EDT

    Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid CF

    The final day of the La Liga season is in the books. Who finished where, and who was relegated?

  15. VIDEO: Xavi Hernandez makes his final Camp Nou exit with tears in his eyes

    May 23, 2015, 4:19 PM EDT

    Xavi Hernandez, FC Barcelona Getty Images

    After 17 year at Barcelona, Xavi will leave the club this summer. On Saturday, he said his final farewell to the Camp Nou.

  16. Premier League Sunday preview: One last time, with feeling (and drama… and dread)

    May 23, 2015, 3:15 PM EDT

    150523-Hull-City Getty Images

    All 10 matches will be on the NBC family of networks, so be sure to click and find out where your club is featuring come 10 a.m. Sunday.

  17. Hull City’s Meyler on relegation scrap: “Pressure is for tires”

    May 23, 2015, 2:30 PM EDT

    during the Barclays Premier League match between  Tottenham Hotspur and Hull City at White Hart Lane on May 16, 2015 in London, England. Getty Images

    “We know we need to win it and we know we’re more than capable of doing that,” Meyler said.

  18. Newcastle’s Carver on relegation fight: “I can’t believe it’s come to the this”

    May 23, 2015, 1:45 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPWI4ZGU3YTY4NDkzMTE1ODIzYzY1NzdlZWIyY2M3ZTE0 Getty Images

    Carver’s bunch has played lackluster football while being waxed by clubs from the top and bottom of the table.

  19. Dortmund exec: Chelsea wouldn’t sell us De Bruyne because they were salty over Lewandowski

    May 23, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    DeBruyne AP

    Would the Blues still be champions with Lewandowski over Costa? Or would they have bought both and run rampant over Europe?

Featured video

PST Extra: Relegation drama on final day