A compilation of the great Brazilian midfielder who stars for AC Milan.
Born Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite on April 22, 1982 in Brasília, Brazil, Kaká is one of the best attacking midfielders in football. He made his senior team debut for Brazilian club São Paulo FC in January 2001, scoring 12 goals in 27 games. In 2002, he was awarded the Brazilian League’s Bola de Ouro (Golden Ball), and began attracting attention from European clubs.
Newly crowned winners of the Champions League AC Milan signed the young star on an $8.5 million transfer fee in 2003, and he enjoyed instant success upon arriving at the San Siro. He scored 10 goals in 30 games while helping lead Milan to the top of Serie A in the 2003-2004 season. He also proved pivotal in Milan’s run to the Champions League final in the 2004-2005 season, where they eventually fell to Liverpool on penalty kicks in Istanbul. Kaká has continued to be a focal point of the team to this day, and has lead Milan back to the Champions League final for a second chance at Liverpool on May 23, 2007.
Regarded by many as one of the top players in the world alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká is a regular on the Brazilian national team. He made his full debut for Brazil in 2002 against Bolivia, and though he only played minimally in one game, he was part of the 2002 World Cup winning Brazilian side at the young age of 20. In 2003 he wore the captain’s armband in the Gold Cup, and was named to the tournament’s Best XI. Kaká finished tenth in voting for the 2004 FIFA World Player of the Year award, and scored in Brazil’s 4-1 triumph over Argentina in the 2005 Confederations Cup. He also scored the game winning goal in Brazil’s 2006 FIFA World Cup opening round game against Croatia, but the Brazilians bowed out to France in the quarterfinals.
Though Kaká has become a mainstay in Brazil’s starting XI, he plans on taking the summer of 2007 off from competition, which includes the coveted Copa América. He told the media that he has not had a break from soccer in three years, and he needs some time off. His decision to give precedent to personal life over soccer should come as no surprise to his followers, as he is highly religious and involved in many campaigns off the field. Kaká is the youngest Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP), which strives to abolish hunger among the poor.
Kaká is also a devout Christian, and is proud to make others aware of it through his celebrations. He has worn shirts that reference his love for God during numerous celebrations, and he points to the sky after every goal in order to thank God. He is a member of an organization known as “Athletes of Christ,” and is married to Caroline Celico of São Paulo, who attends university in Milan.
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