Kaká (Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite)

Ricardo “Kaká” Izecson dos Santos Leite is an attacking midfielder from Brazil. In addition to successful league play, Kaká has displayed his football skills in the Brazilian national team.

In 2007, Kaká recieved the Ballon d’Or and was named FIFA World Player of the Year and Top Forward of the 2006/2007 Champions League season. He was also named FIFPro World Player of the Year, and Time Magazine included him in their list of the world’s 100 most influential people. Kakás footprints can be seen on the Estádio do Estádio do Maracanã’s sidewalk of fame.

In Brazil, Kaká is a common nickname for persons named Ricardo.

Career

At the age of seven, Kaká was spotted by the São Paulo FC during a local tournament. At the age of 15, Kaká signed a professional contract with the club and led São Paulo youth squad to a victory in Copa de Juvenil. His debute as a senior took place in 2001. During his first season, he played 27 matches and scored 12 goals. São Paulo won their first (and so far only) Torneio Rio-São Paulo championship, partly thanks to Kaká who scored two goals in two minutes in the final (which São Paulo won 2-1). Before being transferred to AC Milan in 2003, Kaká played a total of 58 games for São Paulo and scored 23 goals.

Kakás Seria A debut was a match against Ancona that AC Milan won with 2-0. During his first season, Kaká played 30 games and scored 10 goals. AC Milan won both the Scudetto and the EUFA Super Cup. In the 2004/2005 season Kaká had a rather withdraw role to play behind striker Andriy Shevchenko as a part of the five-man midfield. He played 36 domestic games and scored seven goals. AC Milan finnished second in the Scudetto and lost the Champions League final to Liverpool on penalties. Kaká was voted the best midfielder of the tournament.

In 2009, Kaká signed a sex year contract and transferred to Real Madrid. He scored his first league goal for Real Madrid on September 23 in a game against Villareal. In August 2010, Real Madrid announced that Kaká had undergone knee surgery and would need several months of rehabilitation. Eight months later, Kaká returned to the field. In March 2011, he was forced to the sideline again for a few weeks due to a thigh injury, before making a celebrated comeback.   

Private life

  • Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite was born in Brasília, the capital city of Brazil, in 1982. When Kaká was seven years old the family moved to São Paulo.
  • Kakás father Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite is a civil engineer and his mother Simone dos Santos is an elementary school teacher.
  • At the age of 18, Kaká fractured his spine in a swimming pool accident. He made a remarkable full recovery and has since then tithed his income to the evangelical Rebirth in Christ Church.
  • Kaká married Caroline Celico in 2005. They have two children, Luca born in 2008 and Isabella born in 2011.
  • Kakás younger brother Rodrigo (“Digão”) and cousin Eduardo Delani are also professional football players.
  • Kaká became an Italian citizen in 2007.
  • Kaká is an Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations’ World Food Programme.