EIGHT years on, that bad Rivaldo karma has backfired on Kaka – surely seen as the man least likely to have a World Cup red card flourished in his baby face.
In keeping with his saintly air – and ‘I belong to Jesus’ attire – even last night’s dismissal against the Ivory Coast won’t do him much damage, martyrdom status coming quickly in the watching world’s eyes.
The true villain of the piece, twice over, was of course Ivory Coast substitute Kader Keita, who flung himself to the floor clutching his face after Kaka had barely brushed him in the chest.
Nudge, nudge – sink, sink...
Kader shouldn’t even have still be on the field to dash himself to the ground, having not long earlier hurled his studs into Michel Bastos’ shin in what could well have produced one of those ‘please look away now’ pictures.
Then again, such unsavoury Keita-ing had been on the menu all evening long, players from both sides incessantly rolling around, grimacing wildly, and clutching body parts that had gone untouched.
Lucio, Luis Fabiano and Robinho for Brazil, Zokora, Kalou and of course Drogba were among the offenders – while even choirboy Kaka has significant previous for diving.
Italy’s captain Fabio Cannavaro had looked even more ridiculous just a few hours earlier, and not just for the draw and his delicate assist for New Zealand.
When knocked over in an innocuous enough challenge, he seemingly suffered agonies in front of the camera – then turned suspiciously alert when presumably assuming it had panned elsewhere.
Here’s hoping for rather less ridiculous antics when the football kicks off again this afternoon.
Ah wait – well, it was an admirable idea. But never mind – I see next it’s Portugal playing...