The Brazilian has won almost everything there is to win in football and has created several moments of class on the pitch. Read on to find out more facts about Kaka.
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, known as Kaká or Ricardo Kaká, is widely considered one of the best players of his generation. By the time of his appointment in the year 2004, he became the youngest ambassador of the UN World Food Program.
No one can forget that defense-splitting pass he provided Hernan Crespo in the UEFA Champions League final in 2005. Kaka was the last player to win the Ballon d ‘Or before Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi’s domination era began.
Brazilian superstar Kaka’s name is very well known around the football world for all of his feats on the pitch, including winning a World Cup, a UEFA Champions League title with AC Milan, the FIFA Ballon D’Or and FIFA World Footballer of the Year.
Brazil is a poverty stricken country but unlike most Brazilian players Kaka’s family was wealthy. He was brought up in a rich family and was given good coaching in football. His upbringing meant he was able to practice sport and also have a good education. He has earned a lot of money in his career and is one of the richest footballers in the world with a lofty net worth.
Kaka is one of those players who you could never dislike regardless of what team you support.
Kaka’s full name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite. He was born on April 22, 1982 in Gama – Federal District, Brazil. The land produces a lot of great football stars for the world.
Regarding Kaka’s parents, his father named Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite was an engineer. His mother was a teacher named Simone Cristina dos Santos Leite. Kaka has a younger brother named Rodrigo who used to play for AC Milan. When Kaka was 7 years old, his family moved to Sao Paulo.
The first fact about Kaka is that his real name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite. But he is often known as Ricardo Kaka. This is because his brother was not able to pronounce the name Ricardo when he was young and hence started to call him Caca. The name has stuck ever since.
From an early age, he chose the “Alphaville Tennis Club” team to participate in different competitions. Later, this club won a championship in a regional tournament. Kaka was the best player of the tournament.
Kaka married with his childhood sweetheart Caroline Celico, the wedding took place at Reborn in Christ Protestant church in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Kaka and his wife had two children, but they broke up after 10 years.
Kaka used to play for the Brazilian national team as a head midfielder. He is still considered a model for many midfielders who dream of football tycoons.
His accurate passing of the ball could disappoint all the opposing players on the pitch. He had also the ability to finish accurately, and to score amazing goals.
With his dedication on the pitch, he rightfully received the title of the European Golden Ball winner and was recognized by the World Football Association as the best player in the world in 2007.
At the age of 12, Kaka and the São Paulo youth team participated in the US Reebok Cup season. He was the player who won the best player award. But he continued to study at Batista for 2 more years. At that time, he was a volunteer at the Cambuci Church.
An inspiring fact about Kaka is that when he was only 18 years old he suffered a serious spinal cord injury that could have ended his career. Miraculously he recovered in no time and was able to continue playing football without any problems.
The incident happened because of an accident while swimming and Kaka believes God saved him from misfortune. This is the reason he donates a lot of money to the Church that he visits in Brazil.
Kaka was initially interested in Tennis. He started his career in Tennis as a young boy and then played football as well. Eventually, he decided to switch to football. It was probably the best decision he ever made considering his subsequent achievements.
The playmaker has won the Serie A, La Liga, UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Super cup, The FIFA Club world and the list goes on. Some of his fans believe that he would have been an equally successful player in Tennis as well.
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One of the most important facts about Kaka is that he met his childhood sweetheart Caroline Celico in high school. Both become good friends. Both fell deeply in love with each other and start dating right away. Caroline was 14 and Kaka was 16 when they first met.
Caroline and Kaka have 2 sons. In June 2008, Carlo gave birth to a boy, Luca Celico Leite and in April 2011 to a girl named Isabella.
In 2015, they announced their divorce through Instagram. Kaka wrote, “We would like to announce it publicly that, after nine years together, we have commonly agreed to divorce. Our wedding has given us two beautiful and cute children whom we love so dearly.
“We will continue to have, the gratitude, respect, and admiration for one another remains mutually intact. We ask for your sympathy and understanding to preserve our privacy at such moment of change.”
Carol also revealed, “When a man cheats, it is a sign that his wife failed.” Therefore, Carol’s words gave Kaka’s fans a hint why they got divorce.
The former AC Milan talisman remained a single father for about four years before he decided to tie the knot with the Brazilian model named Carolina Dias.
The 2007 Balon d’Or winner used to share his personal life with his huge followers and so he announced his engagement with the Brazilian model Carolina Dias on 5 January 2019 through a social media post.
The 38-year-old Brazilian star welcomed his third child! The supermodel wife Carolina gave birth to their first child, their daughter Esther, which is the name of a Jewish queen in the Bible.
Kaka scored arguably the best goal in his career against Argentina in a friendly at the Emirates stadium. Brazil was already 2-0 up as Argentina attempted to pull a goal back.
They lost the ball in the 88th minute and Kaka picked up the ball outran Messi from one end of the pitch to the other, beat Gabriel and scored.
Although Messi is a fast player, Kaka was just too good on that day.
Another interesting fact about Kaka is that he became the first Athlete to reach 10 million followers on Twitter beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He currently has the 5th highest number of followers on Facebook as well. Kaka tweets in English, Spanish, and Portuguese!
In April 2012, Kaká became the first sports personality to reach 10 million followers on Twitter. In March of this year, Kaká had the fifth highest social media rank in the world among athletes, behind fellow footballers Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, David Beckham and Neymar with 33 million Facebook fans.
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Ricardo Kaka was passionate about football from an early age. At the age of 9, he started his football career with the Sao Paulo club. By the age of 12, He joined the youth team at the Reebok Cup season in the US. After that tournament ended, he achieved the title of the best player.
When playing for Sao Paulo, Kaka quickly attracted the attention of European clubs when he scored 10 goals in 22 matches.
Kaka was only 22 years old and reached his career peak very soon. At the end of the tournament, he had 58 goals in 146 matches.
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Kaká began his career with São Paulo at the age of nine and signed a contract at fifteen. AC Milan signed him for €8.25million in 2003, a sum that owner Silvio Berlusconi described a few years ago as "peanuts". In summer 2009, Kaka completed his transfer to Real Madrid for €65 million deal and became part of "new galacticos". Following stints back at Milana and Sao Paulo, he then started to play at Orlando City FC in the MLS.
Kaká was seven when his family moved to São Paulo. A keen football enthusiast, he was taken on by the São Paulo FC the following year.
At the age of 15, he was given a contract, but his progress was interrupted three years later by a serious spinal injury (sustained in a swimming accident), which threatened his career.
He recovered, however, and made his first-team debut in January 2001. That year he scored 12 goals in 27 matches as an attacking midfield player. In 2002, he debuted for the Brazilian national team, playing in a match against Bolivia, and later that year Brazil won the World Cup.
Kaká’s growing exposure on the world stage prompted interest from leading European clubs, and in August 2003 AC Milan signed him for $8.5 million. He made his first appearance in Italy the next month in a 2–0 win over Ancona.
Kaká was equally adept at initiating and finishing attacks, and his forceful all-around skills developed with Milan. Kaká finished eighth and seventh, respectively, in balloting for FIFA Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006 before winning almost every available honour in 2007, when he was named both European Player of the Year and FIFA World Player of the Year.
In addition, Milan won the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Champions League title in 2007.
After signing an extension with Milan in early 2008, Kaká became the highest-paid footballer in the world, with an annual income from the game alone amounting to €8 million (about $12 million) and extensive corporate sponsorship deals.
Although he professed a desire to finish his career in Milan, Kaká was transferred to Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid in June 2009, a move that was spurred by the Italian club’s dire financial straits. He was a key figure on the Real squads that won the 2011 Copa del Rey (Spanish cup) and the 2011–12 La Liga (Spanish top division) title.
In 2013, Kaká returned to AC Milan. The following year Kaká and Milan mutually agreed to terminate his contract, and he signed to play with the expansion team Orlando City SC of North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS), which began to play in 2015.
He was loaned to São Paolo for the 2014–15 season. Unlike other notable stars who played in the MLS toward the end of their careers, Kaká kept up his strong play in the U.S., earning All-Star honors in each of his first two seasons with Orlando City. Finally, he retired from professional football in December 2017.
Kaka was born Ricardo lzecson dos Santos Leite, on April 22, 1982, in Gama, Federal District, Brazil. He is the elder of two children to Boscolzecson Pereira Leite, a civil engineer and Simone dos Santos, an elementary school teacher. His brother Rodrigo is also a professional footballer.
His nickname ‘Kaka’ is the result of mispronunciation of his name by his younger brother, Rodrigo who called him ‘caca.’ This in course of time became ‘Kaka.’
At the age of seven on the advice of his Physical Education teacher of Brazilian Baptist College, his mother enrolled him in local youth club called ‘Alphaville,’ Sao Paulo. His talent took him to Sao Paulo F.C, youth academy.
He joined Sao Paulo at eight, signed a contract at 15 and played for its senior side at 19 years. His decisive moment came on March 07, 2001, when he scored two goals in two minutes coming as substitute in the finals of ‘Torneio Rio-Sao Paulo’ against Botafogo, for the title.
He suffered a freak accident at the age of 18, just as he was emerging as a special footballing talent. While relaxing at a swimming pool, he plunged down the waterslide and hit his head on the bottom of the pool. Fearing the worst after injuring his vertebrae, he surprising recovered in a week.
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Kaka made his debut for Brazil in the under-20 team for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship, which was held in Argentina. Unfortunately Brazil crashed out in the quarterfinal losing to Ghana. He scored a goal in a 4-0 win against Australia.
On January 31, 2002, he made his national senior team debut in a friendly against Bolivia. Although he was part of 2002 FIFA World Cup team, he saw action only for 25 minutes, mostly in the first round matches.
After distinguishing himself with his power and prowess at Sao Paulo, where he scored 23 goals in 58 appearances, he moved to A.C Milan, the European Champion for €8.5 million in 2003. The club Sao Paulo were reluctant to release him but for the club’s serious financial strife.
Kaka made his club debut on September 01, 2003, in the Serie ‘A’, league against A.C. Ancona. Playing as attacking midfielder, he provided several important assists and scored 10 goals in 30 appearances in his debut season. He was named ‘Serie-A Footballer of the Year 2004.’
He led the national under 23 team to ‘2003 CONCACAF Gold cup’ where they finished runner-up to Mexico. He scored three goals in five games.
A noticeable fact about Kaka is that as a devote evangelist Christian right from the age of 12, he attributes everything in life to God. He sports message of Jesus on his T shirts and shoes and says open prayer on the field before the game and after scoring a goal.
He ended the 2004-05 season with seven goals in 36 appearances to take Milan as Milan finished runner-up. In the finals of Champions League Final against Liverpool, he displayed great skill and was instrumental in Milan taking lead with perfect assists. He was named ‘2005 UEFA Club Football Best Midfielder.’
Kaka was nominated for the third time in three years for the Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2006. He was selected to both ‘UEFA Team of the Year,’ and the ‘FIFPro World XI for the first time in his career.
He made the starting line-up in the match against Croatia at the ‘2006 FIFA World Cup’ in 2006 and scored his first and only goal in the world cup till date. He did not have memorable 2010 World Cup either, when he was sent off in the match against Ivory Coast after receiving a controversial red card.
On February 12, 2007, Kaka was sworn in as an Italian citizen. He featured in the cover of the Italian edition of EA Sports’ FIFA video game FIFA 07, alongside Ronaldinho.
As Milan won the 2007 Champions League Title, Kaka was voted the ‘Vodafone’ Fan’s Player of the Season for his performance, in a poll of over 100,000 UEFA.com visitors. He was also named the top forward in the league and ‘UEFA Club Footballer of the Year.’
On December 02, 2007, he was voted as the World Soccer magazine’s World Player of the Yearand also awarded France Football Magazine’s prestigious 'Ballon d’Or’ with 444 votes. He was the hot favorite for the honor after winning the Champions league and the European Super Cup, though Cristiano Ronaldo dominated the domestic season.
On December 16, 2007, Kaka scored a goal and was instrumental in Filipp Inzaghi scoring two goals in the FIFA Club World Cup, defeating Boca Juniors 4-2. He was awarded the Golden Ball, as the best player of the competition.
On December 17, 2007, Kaka the playmaker added to his array of trophies this season with ‘FIFA World Player of the Year 2007.’ He collected 1,047 votes, more than the combined total of Messi and Ronaldo. He was quoted ‘God gives us more than we ask for and that’s what has happened in my life.’
On June 30, 2009, he signed a six year deal with Real Madrid worth € 67 million. Although he made his unofficial debut for the club on August 07, in a friendly, he made his league debut on August 29, in a 3-2 win over Deportivo de La Coruna.
On August 05, 2010, Kaka underwent surgery on the left knee injury, which kepthim out of action for about eight months. He returned to action as a substitute in the game against Getafe, on January 03, only to be sidelined for about few weeks with Iliotibial band syndrome.
Kaka was involved in one of the counterattacking moves in the match against Ajax in the Champions League on September 27, 2011. He combined with Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema, in converting one of the best team build-up into a goal. His performance with a goal and an assist was chosen the best player of the Champions League Match day.
Within a span of one month, Kaka experienced ecstasy and despair. He became the top Brazilian goal scorer in the Champions League with 28 goals, when he scored a goal in 49th minute against Ajax on December 04. While on January 12, he was sent off in the game against ‘C.A. Osasuna’ when he was booked twice in space of 18 minutes.
On September 02, 2013, Kaka returned back to A.C. Milan, on a free transfer with only performance related incentives owed to Madrid. His contract was worth € 4 million net per year and was named the vice-captain of the team.
After spending a season with Milan, he joined Orlando City Soccer Club, of MSL for 2015 season. In the process he became the highest paid player in MSL history, with base salary of US$ 6.6 million per year and $7.2 million per year as guaranty amount.
In July 2014 he was loaned to his former club, Sao Paulo until start of MSL season. He made his comeback in the match against Goias Esporte Clube on July 27, with a goal in a losing cause. He made 24 appearances in the season scoring 3 goals.
Kaka married his childhood sweetheart Caroline Celico on December 23, 2005, at Rebirth in Christ Church in Sao Paulo. They have two children, a son Luca Celico Leite and a daughter Isabella. The couple divorced in 2015. These days he is dating Carolina Dias, a model.
In April 2012, Kaka became the first sportsperson with ten million followers on Twitters and by March 2015, he was the fifth highest social media rank in the world with 33 million Facebook fans.
Since November 2004, he has served as an ‘Ambassador Against Hunger’ for the United Nations’ World Food Program. He is the youngest appointee.
Kaka had the distinction of playing in 654 club games scoring 208 goals. He also represented his country in 92 matches scoring 29 goals playing his last game on October 16, 2012 against Poland.
Kaka is involved with several charitable causes. The Brazilian is an ambassador for the World Food Programme organized by the UN. He also served as the ambassador for the Special Olympics.
“I also believe it is important to be active in social terms.’ he said on his official website.
Among unknown facts about Kaka is that he was named as one of the 100 most influential people on the planet, twice in 2008 and 2009. Winning the FIFA World player of the year as well as well as the Ballon d’ Or was one of the primary reasons for his inclusion. He is one of the most decorated players in the history of the sport. Take a look at some of his individual awards:
Kaká is a devout evangelical Christian who was an active member of the São Paulo-based Rebirth in Christ Church. He became engrossed in religion at the age of 12 and rediscovered his astute faith following his injury.
Following his triumphs at the 2002 World Cup, and Milan's 2004 Scudetto and 2007 Champions League titles, he removed his jersey to reveal an "I Belong to Jesus" T-shirt and openly engaged in prayer moments after the final whistles. He has also had that phrase and "God Is Faithful" stitched onto the tongues of his boots.
Final fact about Kaka is that he is extremely well known for his humanitarian work. In 2004, he became the youngest ambassador of the UN World Food Program. For his contributions on and off the pitch, Kaká was named to the Time Magazine 100 list of the world's most influential people in 2008 and 2009.
In international play Kaká was a key contributor to Brazil’s runs to the quarterfinals at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, but he failed to make the national side when his home country hosted the 2014 Cup.
The current net worth of Kaka is not exactly known but according to Forbes, Ricardo Kaka had a net worth of $105 million while playing for MLS franchise Orlando City. Kaka became the second-most expensive transfer in the history of football when he joined Real Madrid in 2008 for a reported €67 million fee on a six-year deal.