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Is Kaka's legendary career coming to a close?


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This week, Brazilian midfielder Kaka announced he would depart MLS side Orlando City at the end of his contract. With rumours persisting that he will join his former AC Milan teammate Andrea Pirlo in announcing retirement, it's worth remembering just what the playmaker achieved in his career.

Breaking into the Sau Paolo side in 2001, Kaka would go on to make 125 appearances and score 47 goals for the Tricolor, his form earning him a place in Brazil's 2002 World Cup squad. Kaka would state his dream as a boy was to make it as a professional for Sau Paolo and play once for Brazil, but he did much more than that.

A 2003 move to AC Milan was on the cards. It was at the Rossoneri that he truly established himself, winning the Serie A and Champions League, as well as the 2007 World Player of the Year. 

That 2006-07 season he was the Champions League top scorer and was so much better than whoever happened to be second best.

During his six seasons at the San Siro, Kaka slotted into a midfield containing Pirlo, Gattuso, Ambrosini, Seedorf, Rui Costa, and Redondo. He possessed both flair and guts and was capable of scoring stunning goals as well as being a creator.

Able to counter-attack through opposition teams on his own, Kaka's pass to Hernan Crespo in the 2005 Champions League was sublime. Picking the ball-up on the halfway line, he turned and threaded a ball forward to the Argentine, it bounced twice perfectly before Crespo chipped Dudek.

During the club's 2007 Champions League, Kaka scored three goals to single-handedly knock out a very strong Manchester United, they were literally falling over themselves to try and stop him. 

In an age where players are manufactured and being an athlete is more important than being a footballer, Kaka represents a generation of players that were raw and instinctive. Kaka played the beautiful game in its' purest form. 

Inevitably, he was one of the first signings of Real Madrid's second Galacticos era. For a few weeks, the world's most expensive player. Kaka wasn't able to consistently perform at his peak. Unlike previous Balon d'Or winners, this wasn't due to mentality but injury. 

A serious injury at the 2010 World Cup, kept Kaka out for months, his stats look impressive, but in a Real team with the likes of Ronaldo, Di Maria, Ozil, Guti, Alonso, and Khedira, if you don't perform 9/10, they can bring in someone who can. He still did, however, score some memorable goals, though his form grew increasingly erratic.

In 2013, he rejoined AC Milan. An injury on his debut sidelined him for a number of weeks and he returned his wages. Kaka always was brilliant off the pitch, humble and clever, studying a Sports Marketing course whilst playing, he was also the youngest representative of the UN World Food Programme. 

He was a family man also, marrying his childhood sweetheart, Caroline Celico, though the couple divorced after 10 years, the split appeared to be amicable.

After a season back in Italy, Kaka was confirmed as the marquee signing of Orlando City, rejoining another one of his former clubs Sau Paolo on loan in the meanwhile. At both clubs, Kaka has grown into a leadership role and shown his obvious quality and has put Orlando on the map.

If he does retire, Kaka will leave behind a brilliant legacy, though injuries cut his prime short, his prime was out of this world, his play brought joy to millions and he has used his prominence to help others with charity work. Kaka should be remembered for his time as the undisputed best in the world, when he would strike fear into the hearts of the best teams in the world. 

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