Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, better known as Kaká, is a Brazilian football offensive midfielder who currently plays for Real Madrid in the Spanish La Liga and for the Brazilian national team. Kaká began his football career at the age of eight, when he joined a local team in So Paulo. He made his senior team debut on February 1, 2001, and scored 12 goals in 27 games. His reputation grew throughout Europe, culminating in his signing for €8.5 million with Italian club AC Milan in 2003. In his debut season, he scored 10 goals in 30 games as Milan won the Scudetto and the UEFA Super Cup. He scored his first Rossoneri hat-trick against Chievo on April 9, 2006, and the following season, he earned his first Champions League hat-trick against Anderlecht in a 4–1 group stage triumph. When Milan defeated Liverpool on May 23, 2007, Kaká added the Champions League championship to his trophy cabinet for the first time. On August 30, UEFA awarded Kaká the top striker of the 2006–07 Champions League season as well as the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year. He was selected the 2006–07 FIFA Pro World Player of the Year on October 5, 2006. Kaká made his unofficial Real Madrid debut on August 7, 2009, in a 5–1 friendly triumph over Toronto FC. Kaká has been regarded as a fast, calm, balanced, and highly skilled team player with a terrific shooting, excellent vision, and exceptional passing skills.
Kaka reached the pinnacle of his career in December 2007, when he won the Ballon d’Or with 444 votes on his fourth consecutive nomination. He was also named the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year, receiving nearly twice as many votes as runner-up Lionel Messi. That year, he was included to the TIME 100 list of the world’s most important people. His fame had risen to the point that he had become the world’s ambassador for football in many underdeveloped countries. He guided his squad to the Club World Cup against Boca Juniors in 2008.
Kaka was now without a doubt one of the world’s most valued players. He was sold to Real Madrid from AC Milan in 2009 for a fee of $89 million on a six-year deal. This was the second-highest transfer fee in history, after only Zinedine Zidane’s $100 million cost in 2001. He was also a regular for his country, Brazil, scoring 29 goals in 87 games. Kaka’s yearly earnings in 2012 were close to $19.5 million. Kaka is now one of the most popular athletes on the globe, with over 17 million Twitter followers as of 2013. He is one of the most successful players of the twenty-first century, having won nearly every prize the game has to offer.
Time 100, Marca Leyenda
Time 100, Milliyet Sports
Ballon d’Or, FIFA World Player of the Year, Onze d’Or, Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year, UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, Serie A Footballer of the Year, Silver Ball, World Soccer Player of the Year
Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year