Ricardo Izecsondos Santos Leite popularly known as Kaka enjoyed a very good career highlighted by his World Cup win with the Brazilian national team at the 2002 edition in South Korea and Japan plus his Ballon d’Or win in 2007 after he inspired AC Milan to their last Champions League title triumph. Kaka is regarded as one of the best players of his generation. Here are 10 facts you should know about him:
- Kaka was born on the 22nd of April 1982 in the city of Brasilia in Brazil. He played tennis before his focus shifted to football.
- The ex-Real Madrid and AC Milan attacking midfielder was born to a civil engineer father, Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite and anelementary school teacher mother Simone dos Santos. His healthy financial background allowed him to focus on school and football at the same time.
- He got his nickname Kaka thanks to his younger brother Digao.
- Kaka started his football career with Brazilian Serie A giants Sao Paulo at the tender age of eight. He went on to sign a professional contract with the club at the age of 15 before leading the youth team to Copa de Juvenil glory.
- AC Milan signed him from Sao Paulo in an $8.5m deal in 2003. He would go on to win every competition with the Italians including the 2007 Champions League title as pointed out earlier. Kaka scored 95 goals in 270 matches during his six-year stay at the San Siro.
- Kaka signed for Real Madrid for a then world-record fee of €68.5m. His reign as the most expensive player lasted for a few days before his club signed Cristiano Ronaldo in a world-record deal believed to be £80m. He scored nine goals in 30 appearances in his debut season for Real Madrid.
- He won the 2002 FIFA World Cup tournament in South Korea and Japan with Brazil plus the Confederations Cup in 2005 and 2009.
- In addition to his Ballon d’Or Award in 2007, he was Serie A Player of the Year in 2004 and 2007.
- Kaka is married to childhood sweetheart Caroline Celino. They tied the knot on December 23, 2005.
- The Brazilian football legend is a devout Christian.
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