By DAN KARELL
The arrival of Ricardo Kaka to Major League Soccer is about to become a reality after a long courtship.
According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, Kaka has opted out of his contract with AC Milan and has officially signed a deal to become Orlando City Soccer Club’s first ever Designated Player signing. Kaka is set to arrive in Orlando on Monday evening and the club will ask fans to greet the Brazilian midfielder at Orlando International Airport, the report adds.
As of posting, neither Orlando City SC and Sao Paulo FC have officially commented on the Sunday report. Orlando City, however, released a statement on June 20 saying they were in “advanced discussions” with Kaka.
Kaka is expected to be officially introduced as an Orlando City player at a press conference on Tuesday at 10 a.m. and then again in the afternoon to fans at a USA World Cup watch party.
Due to the the timing of the signing, Kaka will spend the next six months on loan with his boyhood club Sao Paulo FC before returning for OCSC preseason next January.
Although he’s clearly lost some of his speed and skill from his prime, the 32-year-old Kaka represents the first MLS signing to be a former FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, which Kaka won in 2007.
Kaka brings with him a career full of titles and silverware for club and country, not to mention personal awards. After moving to Milan from Sao Paulo for 8.5 million euros in 2003, Kaka led the Italian giants to a Serie A title, UEFA Champions League title, UEFA Supercup title, and Club World Cup title. After making a 65 million euros move to Real Madrid in 2009, Kaka struggled to recover the form that made him shine in Italy, though he helped Los Blancos win La Liga in 2012 and the Copa Del Rey the year before.
He won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and was a starter at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, appearing in 87 matches and scoring 29 goals.
Kaka returned to Milan just before the end of the 2013 summer transfer window on a free transfer, but he was able to opt-out of his two-year contract with the Italian club because they failed to qualify for European competitions next season. Milan finished in a disappointing eighth place in the league in 2013-2014.
What do you think of this news? Excited to see MLS sign a former FIFA Player of the Year? How do you expect Kaka to fit into the MLS style of play?
Share your thoughts below.
what happened to him at Madrid? I remember he started off well with Ronaldo/Alonso and got injured and somehow Ozil moves to Madrid in 2010 and took over his spot and relegated him to the bench. He relegated the 2007 world player of the year to the bench. Ozil. Back in 2010 he was only FAMOUS for helping Germany reach the semi’s
X, you are right about Stoichov winning the award however on the account of the Kaka, he won both the Ballon d’OR and the FIFA world player of the year in 2007, he will be the only player ever to play in MLS to have done that.
Um…he didnt win the FIFA Ballon d’Or. He won the award before it merged with FIFA Player of the year in 2010.
That being the case, former MLS player Hristo Stoichkov won that award in 1994 (when it was for European players only).
wait you mean it’s for Europeans only or players in European leagues?
Twitter says Joe Gyau is on his way to Dortmund. That’s pretty big.
Hoping he can establish himself in the squad. Not looking foward if he’s benched or loaned out.
Orlando is going to be real exciting when they come in! Lessens the “sting” of Becksy not getting a Florida team.
He hasn’t played much the past year or two, so don’t know how much he will contribute to their team, but it certainly is a good pr move for the team and the league.
Don’t know if it’s a typo but his name isn’t “Ricardo Kaka” he is known as “Kaka” his name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite.
indeed. I wonder if ESPN will refer to it before the World cup game
Well, they better sign Digao too.
I hate Kaka. I hate that he strung the Red Bulls along and made them sign his dumb brother as collateral.
I blame the Red Bulls for that. Ownership has got to be smarter. As fans of the club, however, we know that they frequently do some dumb things.
Maybe you and NYRB are just naive for thinking that anything in football is a sure thing.