Kaká with Real Madrid playing a match against CSKA Moscow in February 2012
|Full name||Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite|
|Date of birth||22 April 1982|
|Place of birth||Gama, DF, Brazil|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|Current club||Real Madrid|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:01, 26 May 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁiˈkaɾdu iˈzɛksõw duˈsɐ̃tus ˈlejtʃi]; born 22 April 1982), commonly known as Kaká (Portuguese: [kaˈka] ( listen)), is a Brazilian football attacking midfielder who currently plays for Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team. Kaká started his footballing career at the age of eight, when he began playing for a local club. At the time, he also played tennis, and it was not until he moved on to São Paulo FC and signed his first professional contract with the club at the age of 15 that he chose to focus on football.
In 2003 he joined Milan for a fee of €8.5 million. While at Milan, Kaká won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2007. After his success with Milan, Kaká joined Real Madrid for a transfer fee of €65 million, second only to that of Zinedine Zidane, €75 million. Later Real Madrid transferred Cristiano Ronaldo for a fee of €96 million, setting a new transfer fee record, making Kaká's fee the third highest ever. In addition to his contributions on the pitch, Kaká is known for his humanitarian work. In 2004, by the time of his appointment, he became the youngest ambassador of the UN World Food Programme. Kaká is the first sportsperson to amass 10 million followers on Twitter.
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite was born in Gama, in Brazil, to Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite (a civil engineer) and Simone dos Santos (an elementary school teacher). He had a financially secure upbringing that allowed him to focus on both school and football at the same time. His younger brother Rodrigo (best known as Digão) and cousin Eduardo Delani are also professional footballers.
When he was seven, Kaká's family moved to São Paulo. His school had arranged him in a local youth club called "Alphaville," who qualified to the final in a local tournament. There he 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. He attributes his recovery to God and has since tithed his income to his church.
Kaká began his career with São Paulo at the age of eight. He signed a contract at fifteen and led the São Paulo youth squad to Copa de Juvenil glory. He made his senior side debut on 1 Feb 2001 and scored 12 goals in 27 appearances, in addition to leading São Paulo to its first and only Torneio Rio-São Paulo championship, in which he scored two goals in two minutes as a substitute against Botafogo in the final, which São Paulo won 2–1.
He scored 10 goals in 22 matches the following season, and by this time his 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 his signing with Italian club AC Milan in 2003 for a fee of €8.5 million, described in retrospect as "peanuts" by club owner Silvio Berlusconi. Within a month, he cracked the starting lineup, and his Serie A debut was in a 2–0 win over Ancona. He scored 10 goals in 30 appearances that season, as Milan won the Scudetto and the UEFA Super Cup.
Kaká was a part of the five-man midfield in the 2004–05 season, usually playing in a withdrawn role behind striker Andriy Shevchenko. He scored seven goals in 36 domestic appearances as Milan finished runner-up in the Scudetto race. Despite Milan losing the 2004–05 Champions League final to Liverpool on penalties, Kaká was still voted the best midfielder of the tournament, finishing as one of the top second assist providers, with 4, including the long pass to Paolo Maldini's opening goal in the final.
2005–06 saw Kaká score his first hat-tricks in domestic competition. On 9 April 2006, he scored his first Rossoneri hat-trick against Chievo; all three goals were scored in the second half. The following season, he scored his first Champions League hat-trick in a 4–1 group stage win over the Belgian side Anderlecht. Milan were knocked out in the semifinals.
Andriy Shevchenko's departure to Chelsea for the 2006–07 season allowed Kaká to become the focal point of Milan's offense as he alternated between the midfield and striker positions. He finished as the top scorer in the 2006–07 Champions League campaign with ten goals. One of them helped the Rossoneri eliminate Celtic in the quarter-finals on a 1–0 aggregate, and three others proved fatal for Manchester United in the semi-finals, despite Milan losing the first leg.
Kaká added the Champions League title to his trophy case for the first time when Milan defeated Liverpool on 23 May 2007. Though he went scoreless, he won a free kick that led to the first of Filippo Inzaghi's two goals, and provided the assist for the second. For his stellar play throughout the competition, he was voted the Vodafone Fans' Player of the Season in a poll of over 100,000 UEFA.com visitors. On 30 August, Kaká was named by UEFA as both the top forward of the 2006–07 Champions League season and UEFA Club Footballer of the Year. He once again finished as the second assist provider of the Champions League, with 5 and was voted the 2007 IFFHS World's Best Playmaker.
He played his 200th career match with Milan in a 1–1 home draw with Catania on 30 September, and on 5 October, he 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 he finished with a decisive 444 votes, long ahead of runner-up Cristiano Ronaldo. He signed a contract extension through 2013 with Milan on 29 February 2008.
Due to his contributions on and off the pitch, Time magazine named Kaká in the Time 100, a list of the world's 100 most influential people, on 2 May. On 14 October, he cast his footprints into the Estádio do Maracanã's sidewalk of fame, in a section dedicated to the memory of the country's top players. He won the honor again in 2009.
BBC reported on 13 January 2009 that Manchester City 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 he 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, Silvio 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 he saluted them by flashing his jersey outside a window.
On 3 June 2009, Football Italia reported that newly-elected Real Madrid 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 he and Kaká's father, Bosco Leite, had traveled to Mexico to meet with La Volpe. "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 his motive for the talks with La Volpe. "We cannot allow [Milan] to lose €70 million [...] The reasons behind Kaká's departure would be economic." On 8 June, Milan and Real Madrid confirmed Kaká has moved to the Bernabéu on a six-year deal.
Kaká made his unofficial debut on 7 August 2009, in a 5–1 friendly victory against Toronto FC. He scored his first goal for Madrid during a pre-season match on 19 August 2009, in a 5–0 victory against Borussia Dortmund. Kaká later made his league debut on 29 August 2009 in a 3–2 win against Deportivo La Coruña. He scored his first goal, a penalty kick, on 23 September, in a 2–0 against Villarreal. On 5 August 2010, Real Madrid announced that Kaká had undergone a successful surgery on a long-standing left knee injury and would face up to four months on the sidelines. Kaká returned to training after a long lay-off and manager Jose Mourinho said that having Kaká back was like a new signing.
After an eight-month absence, Kaká returned to play by entering as a substitute for Karim Benzema on the 77th minute of a 3–2 victory over Getafe on 3 January 2011. He said he was "(...) happy for playing a game again and for stepping onto a pitch." His first league goal (and his first of the season) after his return from injury came with an assist from Cristiano Ronaldo on a 4–2 victory over Villareal on 9 January 2011.
In March 2011, Kaká suffered from Iliotibial band syndrome which kept him sidelined for a few weeks. After returning from injury, he appeared in a convincing win over Valencia, scoring two goals. At the end of his second season with the club, Real Madrid and Kaká had won the Copa del Rey.
On 27 September 2011, Kaká experienced one of his best matches as a Real Madrid player during a 3–0 victory over Ajax in the Champions League, as he scored one goal, provided one assist and participated in one of the best team build-ups of the matchday: a counterattacking move involving Özil, Ronaldo and Benzema. He was later chosen the best player of the Champions League Matchday.
With this match, Kaká experienced one of the best starts to a season he's ever had, scoring two goals, serving two assists and provoking one penalty for his team. Real Madrid won La Liga with a record 100 points that year, and were eliminated for the second year in a row in the semifinals of the Champions League, in which Kaká was one of the top assist providers, with 5 assists.
On 4 December 2012, after scoring in a 4–1 win against Ajax, Kaká became the top Brazilian goalscorer in Champions League history with 28 goals. After the match, Kaká said "This was an important goal for me, and I hope I've still got goals left to help Real Madrid. It was an important win and a special night." Kaká came on just before an hour was played, but was sent off as he was booked twice within 18 minutes in a 0–0 draw against Osasuna on 12 January 2013. It was his first sending off at Real since he joined from Milan in 2009 and his first red card since he was dismissed playing for Brazil against the Côte d'Ivoire at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Kaká was called up for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship, but the Brazilians crashed out to Ghana in the quarter-finals. Several months later, he made his debut for the senior Brazil squad in a friendly match against Bolivia on 31 January 2002. He 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.
In 2003, Kaká was the captain for the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament, where Brazil, competing with their under-23 team, finished as runner-up to Mexico. He scored three goals during the tournament. He was included in Brazil's squad for 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany. He appeared in all five matches and scored one goal in a 4–1 win over Argentina in the final.
Kaká started in his first FIFA World Cup finals in 2006 and scored his first and only goal of the tournament in Brazil's 1–0 victory over Croatia in Brazil's opener, for which he was named Man of the Match. He was unable to keep up the momentum for the remainder of the tournament, as Brazil was eliminated by France in the quarter-finals. In a friendly against rivals Argentina on 3 September 2006, after entering as a substitute, he 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 12 May 2007, citing an exhaustive schedule of Serie A, Champions League, and national team play, Kaká bowed out of the 2007 Copa América, which Brazil won. After missing out on the Copa América, he returned to play in Brazil's friendly match against Algeria on 22 August 2007.
Kaká participated in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, marking his first international tournament since the 2006 World Cup. His only two goals came in Brazil's group stage opener against Egypt on 14 June, when he scored a goal in the fifth minute and then added a 90th-minute penalty in Brazil's 4–3 victory. He received the Golden Ball as the player of the tournament at the Confederations Cup and was also named the Man of the Match in the final after helping Brazil to a 3–2 win against the United States.
In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, during the match against Côte d'Ivoire on 20 June, Kaká received a red card after receiving two yellow cards. The second card was given for an elbow in the direction of Abdul Kader Keïta. Kaká ended the tournament with three assists in total, and Brazil eventually ended up losing 2–1 to the Netherlands.
After more than one year absence from the national team, Kaká was recalled on 27 October 2011 for the friendly matches against Gabon and Egypt in November. He later had to be removed from the squad due to an injury, and thus didn't play either of the matches.
After not appearing for Brazil in two years, Kaká was recalled on 28 September 2012 for the friendly matches against Iraq and Japan in October. Following his recall to the Seleção squad, Kaká stated "I admit it was a surprise this call... When the list was published, I was extremely happy. It was like my first call-up." Brazil coach Mano Menezes stated that despite Kaká and Oscar's similarities, the two would be able to play alongside each other as Kaká had slightly changed his game. On his return to national side, Kaká scored in both matches, a 6–0 win over Iraq and a 4–0 win over Japan. Kaká retained his place in the squad for Brazil's 1000th game in history, a 1–1 friendly draw against Colombia on 14 November 2012.
On 5 March 2013, Kaká was called-up by Brazilian national team coach Luiz Felipe Scolari for first time since the coach's return, for friendlies with Italy in London and Russia in Geneva, both taking place late in that month.
Style of play
Kaká has been described as a quick, composed, balanced and highly skilful team player, who possesses a great shot, superb vision and fantastic passing ability.
Kaká married his childhood sweetheart Caroline Celico on 23 December 2005 at a Rebirth in Christ church in São Paulo. The couple have two children: son Luca Celico Leite (born 10 June 2008) and daughter Isabella (born 23 April 2011).
Kaká was sworn in as an Italian citizen on 12 February 2007. He features prominently in Adidas advertising and also has a modeling contract with Armani, the latter preventing him from appearing in a photo collection alongside his Milan teammates that was published by Dolce & Gabbana in early 2007.
He is best friends with Marcelo Saragosa, who plays as a midfielder for the team D.C. United in the United States. They each served as the best man at the other's wedding. He is also close friends with Radamel Falcao.
Kaká was a follower of the evangelical Rebirth in Christ Church and devout evangelical Christian. Kaká became engrossed in religion at the age of 12: "I learnt that it is faith that decides whether something will happen or not." He removed his 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. He also had the same phrase, along with "God Is Faithful," stitched onto the tongues of his boots. During the postmatch celebration following Brazil's 4–1 win over Argentina in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup final, he and several of his teammates wore t-shirts that read "Jesus Loves You" in various languages. While receiving the FIFA World Footballer of the year in 2007 he said when he was young he just wanted to be a professional player for São Paulo and play one game for the Brazil national team but that "God gave [him] more than he ever asked for".
Though sharing a common goal, Kaká is not currently a formal member of the organization Atletas de Cristo ("Athletes of Christ"). In goal celebrations he usually points to the sky as a gesture of thanks to God. Kaká's favourite music is gospel, and his favourite book is the Bible. Since November 2004, he has served as an Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN's World Food Programme, the youngest to do so at the time of his appointment.
Kaká has a musical side to himself as he performed a song with his wife, Caroline, on her debut album. The song, entitled Presente de Deus, was written by Kaká himself for his wife and was resonated in the church during their wedding in 2005.
His nickname Kaká is a common hypocorism for Ricardo in Brazil. In Kaká's case, it was created by his younger brother Digão's inability to pronounce "Ricardo" when they were young.
Statistics accurate as of 26 May 2013
1Continental competitions include the Copa Mercosul, UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup
2Other tournaments include the Campeonato Paulista, Torneio Rio – São Paulo, Supercoppa Italiana, Supercopa de España, UEFA Super Cup, Intercontinental Cup and FIFA Club World Cup
Source: Realmadrid.com – Kaká
|1.||7 March 2002||Cuiabá, Brazil||Iceland||6–1||Win||Friendly|
|2.||19 July 2003||Miami, Florida, United States||Colombia||2–0||Win||2003 Gold Cup|
|3.||19 July 2003||Miami, Florida, United States||Colombia||2–0||Win||2003 Gold Cup|
|4.||23 July 2003||Miami, Florida, United States||United States||2–1||Win||2003 Gold Cup|
|5.||7 September 2003||Barranquilla, Colombia||Colombia||1–2||Win||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|6.||11 October 2003||Curitiba, Brazil||Uruguay||3–3||Draw||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|7.||28 April 2004||Budapest, Hungary||Hungary||1–4||Win||Friendly|
|8.||10 October 2004||Maracaibo, Venezuela||Venezuela||2–5||Win||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|9.||10 October 2004||Maracaibo, Venezuela||Venezuela||2–5||Win||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|10.||27 March 2005||Goiânia, Brazil||Peru||1–0||Win||2006 World Cup qualifier|
|11.||29 June 2005||Frankfurt, Germany||Argentina||4–1||Win||2005 FIFA Confederations Cup|
|12.||10 November 2005||Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates||United Arab Emirates||0–8||Win||Friendly|
|13.||4 June 2006||Geneva, Switzerland||New Zealand||4–0||Win||Friendly|
|14.||13 June 2006||Berlin, Germany||Croatia||1–0||Win||2006 FIFA World Cup|
|15.||3 September 2006||London, England||Argentina||3–0||Win||Friendly|
|16.||10 October 2006||Stockholm, Sweden||Ecuador||2–1||Win||Friendly|
|17.||15 November 2006||Basel, Switzerland||Switzerland||1–2||Win||Friendly|
|18.||24 March 2007||Gothenburg, Sweden||Chile||4–0||Win||Friendly|
|19.||12 September 2007||Foxborough, Massachusetts, United States||Mexico||3–1||Win||Friendly|
|20.||17 October 2007||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||Ecuador||5–0||Win||2010 World Cup qualifier|
|21.||17 October 2007||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil||Ecuador||5–0||Win||2010 World Cup qualifier|
|22.||18 November 2007||Lima, Peru||Peru||1–1||Draw||2010 World Cup qualifier|
|23.||11 October 2008||San Cristóbal, Venezuela||Venezuela||4–0||Win||2010 World Cup qualifier|
|24.||6 June 2009||Montevideo, Uruguay||Uruguay||4–0||Win||2010 World Cup qualifier|
|25.||15 June 2009||Bloemfontein, South Africa||Egypt||4–3||Win||2009 FIFA Confederations Cup|
|26.||7 June 2010||Dar es Salaam, Tanzania||Tanzania||1–5||Win||Friendly|
|27.||11 October 2012||Malmö, Sweden||Iraq||6–0||Win||Friendly|
|28.||16 October 2012||Wrocław, Poland||Japan||4–0||Win||Friendly|
- São Paulo
- Torneio Rio-São Paulo: 2001
- Serie A: 2003–04
- Supercoppa Italiana: 2004
- UEFA Champions League: 2006–07
- UEFA Super Cup: 2007
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2007
- Real Madrid
- Revista Placar Bola de Ouro: 2002
- Campeonato Brasileiro Bola de Prata (best player by position): 2002
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Best XI: 2003
- Serie A Foreign Footballer of the Year: 2004, 2006, 2007
- Serie A Footballer of the Year: 2004, 2007
- UEFA Champions League Bronze Top scorer: 2005–06
- UEFA Champions League Best Midfielder: 2005
- UEFA Team of the Year: 2006, 2007,2009
- FIFPro World XI: 2006, 2007, 2008
- Pallone d'Argento: 2006–07
- UEFA Champions League Top Scorer: 2006–07
- UEFA Champions League Best Forward: 2006–07
- UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2006–07
- FIFPro World Player of the Year: 2007
- Ballon d'Or: 2007
- FIFA Club World Cup Golden Ball: 2007
- Toyota Award: 2007
- FIFA World Player of the Year: 2007
- Onze d'Or: 2007
- World Soccer Player of the Year: 2007
- IFFHS World‘s Best Playmaker: 2007
- IAAF Latin Sportsman of the Year: 2007
- Time 100: 2008, 2009
- Maracanã Hall of Fame: 2008
- Samba d'Or: 2008
- FIFA Team of the Year: 2008
- FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball: 2009
- FIFA Confederations Cup Best XI: 2009
- Marca Leyenda: 2009
- FIFA World Cup Top Assister : 2010
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- Budweiser Man of the Match – FIFA.com, 13 June 2006
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- Tired Kaká to skip Copa America – World Soccer News, 5/12/07
- Ashenden, Mark (15 June 2009). "Brazil 4–3 Egypt". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
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- Seleção Brasileira está convocada
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- "Public Chat Session". RickyKaka.com. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 26 December 2006.
- Milan put their faith in Kaka – The Telegraph, 5/2/07
- "Kaká is the new FIFA 11 cover star". Inside World Soccer. 6 August 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
- "Kaká makes debut as singer with wife Caroline". Inside World Soccer. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 9 November 2010.
- "Kaká". ESPN soccernet. Retrieved 21 January 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (Kaká)|
- Profile on Real Madrid official website
- Kaká at La Liga
- Kaká on Facebook
- Kaká on Twitter
- 2010 FIFA World Cup profile
- Kaká at National-Football-Teams.com
- Kaká – FIFA competition record
- BDFutbol profile
- Transfermarkt profile
- Tactical Profile – Football-Lineups.com
|UEFA Champions League top scorer