AC Milan playmaker Kaka has turned down a lucrative move to Manchester City.
“Kaka is staying at Milan,” said a club spokesman, after the team’s owner Silvio Berlusconi told Italian television the 26-year-old was staying.
City issued a statement saying they had ended talks, believing it was unlikely a deal could be struck with Milan.
“A transfer must work commercially, financially, results on the field and within City’s broader community,” said executive chairman Garry Cook.
“The discussions reached only a preliminary stage and the player was not involved at any time.” added Cook, who spent Monday in meetings with Milan officials and Kaka’s father and advisor Bosco Leite. “No commercial terms were framed.”
City’s bid for Kaka was reportedly worth a Ã‚Â£100m, more than Ã‚Â£50m than the current world transfer fee record Real Madrid paid to Juventus to sign Zinedine Zidane in 2001.
“That’s the end of the story,” Berlusconi told Italian television. “I’m truly delighted to have kept Kaka at Milan.
“Kaka is a great champion and a great man. He’s refused the offer from Manchester City giving privilege to Milan, his companions and his fans.
“He said it’s because money isn’t everything in life. Kaka is staying with us and we’re delighted. Money is important, but there are also other things that are important.
“The fans are delighted too. Turning down so much money is something to admire.”
Earlier hundred of Milan fans had protested outside the club’s headquarters over the possible sale of the Brazilian to Manchester City in a Ã‚Â£100m transfer.
Fans had also gathered outside Kaka’s house and he responded by beating his hand three times on his heart while holding a Milan shirt.
On Saturday Kaka had played in Milan’s 1-0 win over Fiorentina at the San Siro, with the home fans displaying banners such as “Kaka is Priceless” and “Hands Off Kaka”, and singing “Don’t Sell Kaka”.
After the game England international David Beckham, who is currently on loan at Milan from US club LA Galaxy, had predicted the Brazilian would opt to stay at the San Siro.
“I don’t think anybody in the dressing room is thinking about how much money they can earn,” said the England international.
“It’s about playing with the best team, with the best players in the world and winning trophies, and it’s not always about money.
“Riccardo doesn’t need my advice. He will decide what he wants to do, but he loves Milan. I don’t think he will leave.”
Kaka joined Serie A giants Milan from Sao Paulo in 2003 and has since won the Italian league title, Champions League and Club World Cup.
The attacking midfielder has scored 86 goals in 244 appearances for Milan. He has also picked up 62 caps for Brazil and scored 23 goals.
Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, estimated to be worth Ã‚Â£15bn, took over as City owner in September 2008 and extensive funds have been made available to City manager Hughes.
So far he has secured the services of Wayne Bridge in and Craig Bellamy during the January transfer window.
Kaka is under contract at the San Siro until 2013, and although he stated last February that he wanted to remain at Milan for the rest of his career, he had hinted at a desire to play in the Premier League – which he has described as the “best championship in the world”.