Kaka kisses controversial Jabulani ball

By Pedro Fonseca

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Kaka kissed the controversial Jabulani World Cup ball which has been criticized by some of his Brazil team mates on Friday.

Kaka, advertising face of Jabulani makers Adidas, was handed the ball by surprise by a reporter during the news conference at the Brazil team's hotel and kissed it in front of dozens of cameras.

"I'm not going to criticize the Cup ball," the 28-year-old Real Madrid playmaker told a news conference.

"Everything that's new, new technology, makes a different impression. At first, opinions were critical, but who knows if that won't change during the World Cup.

"The World Cup has great intensity, so this whole controversy is created around the ball during the first week but now everyone's more adapted (to it)," he said.

Goalkeeper Julio Cesar said the Jabulani resembled a supermarket ball after practicing with it for the first time and striker Luis Fabiano said it was "supernatural" because of twists and turns it made in the air.

Dunga was annoyed when FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke said Brazil's complaints were made to cover themselves in case of a defeat.

Kaka, however, said the team were becoming accustomed to the ball and that Michel Bastos had benefited from it for his spectacular free kick in the 3-0 win over Zimbabwe this week.

"Now I see Luis Fabiano kissing the ball and Julio Cesar embracing it," Kaka added.

Kaka, at his third World Cup, is now the leading light in the Brazil team and said he wanted to prove he was still among the world's best players after an indifferent season with Real Madrid.

"It's not my main objective but, yes, I think about it," said the last Brazilian winner of FIFA's player of the year award in 2007. "I hope that at the end of the year a Brazilian player is chosen as the best in the world, because if so (it would mean) Brazil would have won the World Cup."

(Writing by Rex Gowar in Pretoria; Editing by Alison Wildey)