A crowd of 50,000 Real Madrid supporters, more people than the whole population of Villarreal, turned up at the Bernabeu stadium for the official presentation of Brazilian superstar Kaka, signed from AC Milan for a sum of 65million euros. One of the more prominent banners on display would have reminded Celtic supporters of their own star Brazilian signing, international centre half Rafael signed in 1999 for £5m.

Scheidt came to prominence in the late 1990s Gremio side managed at the time by Big Phil Scolari . Scheidt first came to international notice when he substituted Gremio’s attacking Paraguayan right back Arce, producing the memorable team lineup of Arce(Scheidt 75m). He quickly established himself as a solid centre half with Gremio, going on to receive international recognition on three occasions. Now it cannot be taken automatically for read that anyone who gains a few caps for Brazil must be an international class player. Brazil play so many friendly games and participate in so many mainly meaningless tournaments that a whole stream of players are given a cap or two and then disappear into mediocrity. It later emerged that around the time Scheidt gained his international caps the Brazilian international manager was accused of several financial irregularities, one of the most serious of which was the suggestion that he was in cahoots with several major agents and was giving their players caps in order to boost their sale value on the European market, in return for which he received a percentage of the enhanced transfer fee. Libel laws require it to be stressed that this allegation was never proved and that the manager concerned, Wanderley Luxemburgo, went on to be coach of the most respected club side in the world, Real Madrid, before returning to Brazil where he managed Santos and immediately took them to success in the 2006 Sao Paulo State Championship and then onto a Copa Libertadores Final defeat. Until last week he was managing Palmeiras when he resigned in protest at the club’s plans to sell top goalscorer Keirrison to Barcelona. Cynics suggested his anger was because he not on a percentage of the transfer fee.

Suffice to say that shortly after he became an internationalist Scheidt was transferred to Celtic for a fee far in excess of that for which other centre-halfs of similar quality could have been obtained. All Celtic fans will be aware of the sad story of his spell in Paradise where he was never given a sustained chance to demonstrate his defensive competence. After the departure of the manager who had allegedly bought him sight unseen, he became known in Celtic circles as the most incompetent Brazilian ever, one who couldn’t trap a bag of cement. He played only 3 times for Celtic, a figure he matched for Brazil. He couldn’t be resold within Europe and no Brazilian club could afford to sign him so he was sent back home on extended loan.

However those followed his story since he disappeared off the Celtic horizon know that he went on to regain the reputation of a solid reliable defender with good leadership qualities. At Corinthians, the best supported club in Sao Paulo the true centre of Brazilian football rather than Rio, he was a first team regular for two seasons. He was then loaned–on to Atletico Mineiro one of the two big clubs in Minas Gerais. Although Atletico were going through a bad spell Scheidt was an impressive leader of their defence and Atletico were disappointed to lose him in January 2005 to Rio giants Botafogo where he immediately became the leader of their defence and quickly became a key factor in their early leadership of that year’s Brazilian championship. (Thus generating the immortal headline ‘Scheidt rises to the top’). Although they eventually faded to mid-table mediocrity, 2006 started better and improved to the point where Scheidt led the team to the Rio State Championship ahead of sides like Flamengo, Fluminense, and Vasco da Gama.
Despite that major domestic success, Scheidt was not recalled to the national side for the 2006 World Cup where the centre back places were occupied by Lucio, Juan and Roque Junior. But the general Brazilian consensus was that Scheidt was at least as good a defender as Roque Junior. So, on his return from Celtic he had 6 seasons as first choice centre half with 3 of the best clubs in Brazil. Then in 2007 Scheidt moved to China where he became one of the most respected of the Brazilian imports and gave 2 seasons of solid performance to Shaanxi Boarong.
Maybe if Celtic had had the bottle to call him Scheidt rather than pretend he was not, they might have got the player who defied that name rather than the one who lived up to it. Certainly he was a better defender than Celtic fans ever saw and one with the talent, ability and warrior attitude to have been a success in the Scottish Premier League.

It is probably fair to say that Real Madrid fans were more excited by Kaka’s transfer than Celtic ones had been with Scheidt. Certainly an amazing number of them turned up at the Bernabeu just to see him formally presented as a new player. To understand the banner waved at Kaka’s presentation it is also necessary to be aware that the previous Real Madrid President Ramon Calderon disgraced himself in his 2½ years as President and brought the proud club into disrepute. From the suggestions of rigged postal votes that got him the presidency in 2006 up until his forced resignation for fraudulently attempting to manipulates the outcome of a December 2008 special General Meeting, his lack of class and integrity embarrassed the world’s most famous club. It was to general relief he was replaced by his predecessor Florentino Perez, who committed himself to bringing to Real Madrid some of the world’s best players.
The final piece of the banner jigsaw is to understand that kaka is a Spanish slang word for number twos, more akin to poo but not as rude as the harsher word mierda.
So most of the 50,000 in the Bernabeu understood positively the sentiments of the banner which stated ‘Ramon Calderon brought us mierda, Florentino Perez brings us kaka’
Real Madrid fans will certainly be hoping Kaka proves a better investment for Real than Rafael Scheidt did for Celtic and that he does not perform to the suggestion of the slang meaning of his name.

Update March 2010
Many of the 50,000 Real Madrid fans who turned up in joyful celebration of his transfer in summer 2009 might now wonder if the sentiments of that banner should be better taken literally rather than metaphorically. Kaka has struggled to settle into anything approaching his normal form with Real Madrid. In a recent large poll of Real Madrid supporters taken shortly after their shock elimination from the Champions League by Lyon, Kaka only came 13th in the list of players Real supporters wanted to keep for next season, behind the likes of Van Der Vaart, Higuain and Granero. No less than 30% of them wanted him to leave the club in the coming summer. Some people have blamed poor Pellegrini for Kaka’s poor form saying he has been asking Kaka to play a role different from his normal game but the consensus of recent professional analysis would suggest that in fact Pellegrini has used him in the same ways as AC Milan and Brazil and that is not the problem. Maybe people forget it does take time for young men to make major transitions, to move countries and adapt to new worlds. If he scores or makes goals in a victory over Barcelona on the 10th April, all past blemishes will be forgotten and he will smell sweetly of roses again. Certainly Brazil fans hope and expect that come the summer his performances will remind them of the old Kaka not the more recent kaka.