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Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (; born 22 April 1982), best known as Kaká, is a Brazilian association football for Italy Serie A club A.C. Milan and the Brazil national football team. Kaká will join Spain La Liga club Real Madrid C.F. during the July 2009 transfer window. Kaká was the recipient of both the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2007.

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Kaká biography

Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (; born 22 April 1982), best known as Kaká, is a Brazilian association football for Italy Serie A club A.C. Milan and the Brazil national football team. Kaká will join Spain La Liga club Real Madrid C.F. during the July 2009 transfer window. Kaká was the recipient of both the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2007.

Early life

Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite was born in Brasília to Simone Cristina Santos Leite and Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite (a civil engineer). Kaká had a financially-secure upbringing that allowed Kaká to focus on both school and football at the same time. Kaká younger brother, Rodrigo (known as Digão), is also a professional footballer.

When Kaká was seven, Kaká family moved to São Paulo. Kaká school had arranged Kaká in a local youth club called "Alphaville," who qualified to the final in a local tournament. There Kaká was discovered by hometown club São Paulo FC, who offered an assignment.

At the age of 18, Kaká suffered a career-threatening and possibly paralysis-inducing spinal fracture as a result of a swimming pool accident, but remarkably made a full recovery. Kaká attributes Kaká recovery to God and has since tithed Kaká income to Kaká church.

Club career

São Paulo

Kaká began Kaká club career with São Paulo FC at the age of eight. Kaká signed a contract at 15 and led the São Paulo youth squad to Copa de Juvenil glory. Kaká made Kaká senior side debut in January 2001 and scored 12 goals in 27 appearances, in addition to leading São Paulo to its first and only Torneio Rio-São Paulo championship where Kaká scored two goals in two minutes in Kaká first team debut as a substitute against Botafogo in the final which Sao Paolo won with 2-1. Kaká scored 10 goals in 22 matches the following season, and by this time Kaká performance was soon attracting attention from European clubs. Kaká made a total of 58 appearances for São Paulo, scoring 23 times.


The steady European interest in Kaká culminated in Kaká signing with Italian club A.C. Milan in 2003 for a fee of €8.5 million, described in retrospect as "peanuts" by club owner Silvio Berlusconi. Within a month, Kaká cracked the starting lineup, and Kaká Serie A debut was in a 2–0 win over A.C. Ancona. Kaká scored 10 goals in 30 appearances that season, as Milan won the Serie A and the UEFA Super Cup.

Kaká was a part of the five-man midfield in the Serie A 2004-05 season, usually playing in a withdrawn role behind striker Andriy Shevchenko. Kaká scored seven goals in 36 domestic appearances as Milan finished runner-up in the Scudetto race. Despite Milan losing the UEFA Champions League 2004-05 final to Liverpool F.C. on penalties, Kaká was nonetheless voted the best midfielder of the tournament.

Serie A 2005-06 saw Kaká score Kaká first hat-tricks in domestic competition. On 9 April 2006, Kaká scored Kaká first Rossoneri hat-trick against A.C. ChievoVerona; all three goals were scored in the second half. The following season, Kaká scored Kaká first Champions League hat-trick in a 4–1 group stage win over the Belgian side R.S.C. Anderlecht.

Shevchenko's departure to Chelsea F.C. for the Serie A 2006-07 season allowed Kaká to become the focal point of Milan's offense as Kaká alternated between the midfield and striker positions. Kaká finished as the top scorer in the UEFA Champions League 2006-07 campaign with ten goals. One of them helped the Rossoneri eliminate Celtic F.C. in the quarterfinals on a 1–0 aggregate, and three others proved fatal for Manchester United F.C. in the semifinals despite Milan losing the first leg.

Kaká added the Champions League title to Kaká trophy case for the first time when Milan defeated Liverpool F.C. on May 23, 2007. Though Kaká went scoreless, Kaká won a free kick that led to the first of Filippo Inzaghi's two goals, and provided the assist for the second. For Kaká stellar play throughout the competition, Kaká was voted the Vodafone Fans' Player of the Season in a poll of over 100,000 visitors. On 30 August, Kaká was named by UEFA as both the top forward of the 2006–07 Champions League season and Club Footballer of the Year.

Kaká played Kaká 200th career match with Milan in a 1–1 home draw with Calcio Catania on 30 September, and on 5 October, Kaká was named the 2006–07 FIFPro World Player of the Year. On 2 December 2007, Kaká became the eighth Milan player to win the Ballon d'Or, as Kaká finished with a decisive 444 votes, long ahead of runner-up Cristiano Ronaldo. Kaká signed a contract extension through 2013 with Milan on February 29, 2008.

Due to Kaká contributions on and off the pitch, Time magazine magazine named Kaká in the Time 100, a list of the world's 100 most influential people, on 2 May. On 14 October, Kaká cast Kaká footprints into the Estádio do Maracanã's sidewalk of fame, in a section dedicated to the memory of the country's top players. Kaká won the honor again in 2009.

BBC reported on 13 January 2009 that Manchester City F.C. made a bid for Kaká for over £100 million. Milan director Umberto Gandini replied that Milan would only discuss the matter if Kaká and Manchester City agreed to personal terms. Kaká initially responded by telling reporters Kaká wanted to "grow old" at Milan and dreamed of captaining the club one day, but later said, “If Milan want to sell me, I’ll sit down and talk. I can say that as long as the club don’t want to sell me, I’ll definitely stay.” On 19 January, Berlusconi announced that Manchester City had officially ended their bid after a discussion between the clubs, and that Kaká would remain with Milan. Milan supporters had protested outside the club headquarters earlier that evening, and later chanted outside Kaká's home, where Kaká saluted them by flashing Kaká jersey outside a window.

On 3 June 2009, Football Italia reported that newly-elected Real Madrid C.F. president Florentino Pérez had offered Milan a ₤68.5 million deal for Kaká, two days after the player had left for international duty with Brazil. Milan vice president Adriano Galliani did not deny the reports, and confirmed that Kaká and Kaká's father, Bosco Leite, had traveled to Spain to meet with Pérez. "We had lunch and spoke about Kaká. I don't deny it. Negotiations exist, but a deal has yet to be done." On 4 June, Galliani told Gazzetta dello Sport that financial reasons were Kaká motive for the talks with Pérez. "We cannot allow AC Milan to lose £70m .. The reasons behind Kaká's departure would be economic."

Real Madrid

On 8 June, Kaká signed a six-year contract with Real Madrid C.F. for an undisclosed fee believed to be £56 million or €67.2 million, making Kaká the first player to be bought by Pérez since Kaká re-election as team president. Kaká cited Kaká reason for Kaká departure as an attempt to help Milan in a period of the team's financial difficulty, and said that Madrid was the only club to where Kaká would have moved.

International career

Kaká was called up for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship but the Brazilians crashed out to Ghana at the quarterfinals. Several months later, Kaká made Kaká debut for Brazil national football team in a friendly match against Bolivia national football team on January 31, 2002. Kaká was part of the 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning squad, but played only 25 minutes, all of which were in the first round match against Costa Rica national football team.

In 2003, Kaká was the captain for the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, where Brazil, competing as with their Brazil Olympic football team, finished as runner-up to Mexico national football team. Kaká scored three goals during the tournament. Kaká was included in Brazil's squad for 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany Kaká appeared in all five matches and scored one goal in a 4–1 win over Argentina national football team in the final.

Kaká started in Kaká first FIFA World Cup finals in 2006 FIFA World Cup and scored Kaká first and only goal of the tournament in Brazil's 1-0 victory over Croatia national football team in Brazil's opener, for which Kaká was named Man of the Match. Kaká was unable to keep up the momentum for the remainder of the tournament, as Brazil was eliminated by France national football team in the quarterfinals. In a friendly against rivals Argentina national football team on September 3, 2006, Kaká received the ball off a deflection from an Argentina corner kick and outran Lionel Messi while taking the ball down three quarters of the field to score.

On May 12, 2007, citing an exhaustive schedule of Serie A, Champions League and national team play, Kaká bowed out of the Copa América 2007, which Brazil won. After missing out on the Copa América, Kaká returned to play in Brazil's friendly match against Algeria national football team on August 22, 2007.

In 2009, Kaká was called up into the Brazil team for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. On June 14, 2009, Kaká scored a goal in the fifth minutes of the match, and later scored a 90th minute penalty to seal a 4-3 win over Egypt national football team in their first match at the tournament.

Whenever Kaká has scored for Brazil, they have never lost.

Personal life

A devout evangelicalism Christianity, Kaká became engrossed in religion at twelve: "I learnt that it is faith that decides whether something will happen or not." Kaká removed Kaká jersey to reveal an "I Belong to Jesus" T-shirt and openly engaged in prayer moments after the final whistle of Brazil's 2002 World Cup, and Milan's 2004 Scudetto and 2007 Champions League triumphs. Kaká also had the same phrase, along with "God Is Faithful," stitched onto the tongues of Kaká boots. During the postmatch celebration following Brazil's 4–1 win over Argentina national football team in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup final, Kaká and several of Kaká teammates wore T-shirts that read "Jesus Loves You" in various languages.

Kaká is a member of the organization Atletas de Cristo ("Athletes of Christ"). Kaká goal celebration consists of Kaká pointing to the sky as a gesture of thanks to God. Kaká's favourite music is gospel music, and Kaká favourite book is the Bible. Since November 2004, Kaká has served as an Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations' World Food Programme, the youngest to do so at the time of Kaká appointment.

Kaká was sworn in as an Italian citizen on 12 February 2007. Kaká features prominently in Adidas advertising and also has a modeling contract with Giorgio Armani, the latter preventing Kaká from appearing in a photo collection alongside Kaká Milan teammates that was published by Dolce & Gabbana in early 2007.

Kaká married Kaká childhood sweetheart Caroline Celico on 23 December 2005 at the evangelical Igreja Renascer em Cristo in São Paulo. Their first child, Luca Celico Leite, was born in São Paulo on June 10, 2008.


Kaká nickname is pronounced as it is spelled, with stress on the second syllable, and is a common term of endearment of "Ricardo" in Brazil. In Kaká's case, it was born from younger brother Digão calling Kaká "Cacá" due to Kaká inability to pronounce "Ricardo" when they were young; it eventually evolved into Kaká.

1Continental competitions include the Copa Libertadores, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and UEFA Cup

2Other tournaments include the Supercoppa Italiana, Intercontinental Cup (football) and FIFA Club World Cup

International goals


São Paulo

- Copa São Paulo de Juniores: 2000
- Torneio Rio-São Paulo: 2001
- Campeonato Paulista: 2002


- Serie A: 2004
- Italian Super Cup: 2004 Supercoppa Italiana
- UEFA Champions League: 2007 UEFA Champions League Final
- UEFA Super Cup: 2003 UEFA Super Cup, 2007 UEFA Super Cup
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2007 FIFA Club World Cup


- FIFA World Cup: 2002 FIFA World Cup
- FIFA Confederations Cup: 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup


- Placar Bola de Ouro: 2002
- Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Bola de Prata (best player by position): 2002
- 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup Best XI: 2003
- Serie A Best new player: 2003
- Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year: 2004, 2006, 2007
- Oscar del Calcio Serie A Footballer of the year: 2004, 2007
- UEFA Club Football Awards: 2005-06
- UEFA Club Football Awards Best Midfielder: 2005
- UEFA Team of the Year Team of the Year 2006: 2006, 2007
- FIFPro World XI: 2006, 2007, 2008
- Pallone d'Argento: 2006-07
- UEFA Club Football Awards: 2006–07
- UEFA Club Football Awards: 2006–07
- UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2007
- FIFPro World Player of the Year: 2007
- Ballon d'Or: Ballon d'Or 2007
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2007
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2007
- FIFA World Player of the Year: 2007
- Onze Mondial: 2007
- IFFHS: 2007
- IAAF: 2007
- Time 100: 2008, 2009
- Estádio do Maracanã: 2008
- Samba d'Or: 2008
- FIFA Team of the Year: 2008


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