Jorge Valdano, Real Madrid's director general, is optimistic Kaka will be fit to feature in Saturday's "Clasico" against Barcelona. The Brazil midfielder has been sidelined for almost a month with a thigh problem, but is desperate to play a part against the Catalan giants in the top-of-the-table Primera Liga clash and spent yesterday, a designated day off, training with physiotherapist Pedro Chueca at Valdebebas in a bid to prove his fitness.
His participation remains in doubt, with Rafael van der Vaart set to deputise once again should he fail to make it - but Valdano offered a more encouraging prognosis. "Now it is a medical problem but hopefully on Saturday it will be only a technical problem," he said. "If you are able, of course you should play." With the fierce rivals in a two-horse race for the title, the match will have a huge bearing on the destination of the trophy - but Valdano does not expect it to be decisive.
"The league does not end there," he said. "We are app-roaching a special game with a lot of tension on it but whatever happens, the fight for the title will remain open. "It's those games where points count double and it is very clear that each point at the moment is almost decisive." Madrid head into the game on the back of 12 successive wins --a run which has seen them score 41 goals - and Valdano added: "We are on a long winning run and every day we have become more solid."
Guti, the midfielder, is confident his side can hurt Barca at the Bernabeu. He told the sporting newspaper Marca: "It will be an important game and we have no fear of anyone. We must recognise that Barcelona are doing very well and their players can cause us problems. But we have weapons to beat them." * With agencies