Top names will shun Italy if violence goes on - Kaka

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MILAN, Nov 13 (Reuters) Top players will shun Italian soccer if fan violence and other scandals continue to dog the game there, AC Milan playmaker Kaka said today.

Kaka, who plays for AC Milan, was shocked by the hooliganism that forced his side's game at Atalanta in Bergamo on Sunday to be abandoned after seven minutes.

The violence followed the shooting of a Lazio fan by a police officer following scuffles with Juventus supporters at a motorway service station. Police said the shooting was accidental.

''All these acts of violence risk distancing the top players from our Serie A,'' the 25-year-told told Gazzetta dello Sport from Brazil, where he is preparing to visit Peru for a World Cup qualifier on Saturday.

''The world class players want to play in great teams and in Italy there are some of the most prestigious clubs in the world. But they are also looking for joy and enthusiasm.'' 'FRIGHTENED SILENCE' Top names had already begun to head to Spain and England rather than the once-dominant Serie A following a match-fixing scandal two years ago, dubbed Calciopoli, and the killing of a policeman during riots outside a Catania match in February.

''First Calciopoli, then the police officer killed in Catania. Now this new tragedy. A fan killed while he was going to see a game,'' he said.

''Italy is losing credibility. The list is becoming too long.'' Real Madrid spent most of the close season trying to tempt AC Milan to sell prized asset Kaka, who has admitted a move to the Bernabeu might interest him.

He did not say if the latest events in Italy could force him to leave but described the scene after the players had left the field at Atalanta as fans tried to break down a barrier keeping them from the pitch.

''Inside our dressing room there was a frightened silence. I tried to understand what was really happening. Everything was thrown into the air,'' Kaka said.

REUTERS SKB RAI1511

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