Kaká with Orlando City in March 2015
|Full name||Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite|
|Date of birth||22 April 1982|
|Place of birth||Gama, Federal District, Brazil|
|Height||1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|2014–2015||→ São Paulo (loan)||19||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 25 October 2015.
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (Portuguese pronunciation: [ʁiˈkaɾdu iˈzɛksõw duˈsɐ̃tus ˈlejt͡ʃi]; born 22 April 1982), commonly known as Kaká (Portuguese: [kaˈka] ( listen)) or Ricardo Kaká, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Orlando City SC in Major League Soccer and the Brazil 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 a Serie A title and the UEFA Champions League, and in 2007 he received the FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d'Or awards. After his success with Milan, Kaká joined Real Madrid for a transfer fee of €65 million. At the time, this was the second highest transfer fee (in euros) ever, behind only the €75 million fee for Zinedine Zidane. After four seasons in Spain, he returned to Milan in 2013. He made his debut for the Brazil national team in 2002, and was selected for their victorious World Cup squad that year, as well as the 2006 and 2010 tournaments.
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. For his contributions on and off the pitch, Kaká was named in the Time 100 list of the world's most influential people in 2008 and 2009. Kaká was the first sportsperson to amass 10 million followers on Twitter.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Club career
- 3 International career
- 4 Style of play
- 5 Personal life
- 6 Career statistics
- 7 Honours
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite was born in Gama, 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. His younger brother, Digão, called him "Caca" due to his inability to pronounce "Ricardo" when they were young; it eventually evolved into Kaká. The word has no specific Portuguese translation.
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 him a place in the youth academy.
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 February 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 the European champions, Italian club A.C. 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, replacing Rui Costa in the attacking midfield playmaking position, behind strikers Jon Dahl Tomasson, Filippo Inzaghi and Andriy Shevchenko. His Serie A debut was in a 2–0 win over Ancona. He scored 10 goals in 30 appearances that season, also providing several important assists, such as the cross which lead to Shevchenko's title deciding headed goal, as Milan won the Scudetto and the UEFA Super Cup, whilst finishing as runner up in the Intercontinental Cup and the 2003 Supercoppa Italiana. Milan also reached the semifinals of the Coppa Italia, losing out to eventual winners, Lazio, and were knocked out of the Quarter finals of the Champions League by Deportivo La Coruña. Due to his performances in his debut season, in 2004, Kaká was named Serie A Footballer of the Year, and was nominated for both the Ballon d'Or (finishing in 15th place) and the FIFA World Player of the Year Awards (finishing in 9th place).
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 was supported by Gennaro Gattuso and Clarence Seedorf defensively, as well as Massimo Ambrosini, allowing Kaká as the attacking midfielder and Rui Costa or Andrea Pirlo as the deep-lying playmaker to be in charge of creating Milan's goalscoring chances, forming a formidable midfield unit in both Italy and Europe. Milan began the season by winning the Supercoppa Italiana against Lazio. He scored seven goals in 36 domestic appearances as Milan finished runner-up in the Scudetto race. Milan also reached the Quarter finals of the Coppa Italia that season. Kaká played a pivotal role in Milan's UEFA Champions League campaign that season, helping them to reach the final against Liverpool, scoring two goals, and providing five assists. Dubbed the Miracle of Istanbul, Milan led 3–0 at half time, before Liverpool staged a comeback, scoring three goals in six minutes, and eventually won the match 3–2 on penalties. A match widely regarded as one of the greatest finals in the competition's history, Kaká was imperious in the first half; he first won the early free-kick which led to Paolo Maldini's opening goal, later beginning the play that led to Hernan Crespo's first goal and Milan's second of the night, before executing a long curling pass that split open the Liverpool defence and rolled perfectly into the path of Crespo to score Milan's third. Kaká was once again nominated for the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year Awards, finishing 9th and 8th in the respective rankings, and he was named the 2005 UEFA Club Football Best Midfielder.
The 2005–06 season saw Kaká score his first hat-tricks in domestic competitions. On 9 April 2006, he scored his first Rossoneri hat-trick against Chievo; all three goals were scored in the second half. Milan were knocked out in the semifinals of the 2005–06 Champions League to eventual champions Barcelona and were once again eliminated in the Quarter Finals of the Coppa Italia. Milan also finished once again as Runner's up in Serie A, with Kaká scoring 17 goals in the league. After the 2006 Calciopoli scandal, however, Milan were deducted 30 points, which placed them in third place. Kaká was nominated for the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year Awards for the third consecutive year, finishing 11th and 7th in the respective awards. He was also selected to be part of both the UEFA Team of the Year and the FIFPro World XI for the first time in his career.
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 forward positions, operating at times as a striker or as a second striker behind Filippo Inzaghi as well as in his more typical attacking midfield position. On 2 November 2006, he scored his first Champions League hat-trick in a 4–1 group stage win over the Belgian side Anderlecht. He finished as the top scorer in the 2006–07 Champions League campaign with ten goals. One of the goals helped the Rossoneri eliminate Celtic in the last 16 round on a 1–0 aggregate, and he scored three goals against Manchester United in the semi-finals. Milan reached the semifinals of the Coppa Italia that season, losing out to winners Roma, and finished fourth in Serie A.
Kaká won the UEFA Champions League title when Milan defeated Liverpool 2–1 on 23 May 2007, avenging the previous loss on penalties two years before. 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, as well as being named as part of the UEFA Team of the Year for the second time. He once again finished as the second best assist provider of the Champions League, providing five, and was voted the 2007 IFFHS World's Best Playmaker.
Milan began the 2007–08 season by winning the UEFA Super Cup on 31 August, defeating Sevilla 3–1, with Kaká scoring the third goal. Kaká had made a dribbling run into Sevilla's area, winning a penalty, which he then proceeded to take. Although it was saved by Palop, Kaká scored on the rebound with a header. Kaká had previously hit the post in the first half. He played his 200th career match with Milan in a 1–1 home draw with Catania on 30 September, scoring from a penalty, and on 5 October, he was named the 2006–07 FIFPro World Player of the Year, and was elected as part of the FIFPro World XI. 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.
On 16 December, Kaká won the FIFA Club World Cup against Boca Juniors, scoring Milan's third goal of the match in a 4–2 victory which allowed them to be crowned World Champions. Kaká had previously assisted Inzaghi's opening goal of the match and also assisted Inzaghi's final goal of the match after an impressive exchange with Seedorf; he was awarded the Golden Ball as the best player of the competition. On 17 December, Kaká was voted the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year with 1047 votes, ahead of Lionel Messi with 504 and Cristiano Ronaldo with 426, and was elected to be part of the FIFA World XI for the second time in his career, also winning the FIFPro World Player of the Year Award.
In January 2008, Kaká was also named the 2007 Serie A Footballer of the Year, winning the award for the second time in his career. 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 Time 100 honour again in 2009. Kaká finished the 2007–08 season with 15 goals in Serie A and was nominated as a finalist for the FIFA World Player of the Year, finishing in fourth place, and was nominated for the Ballon d'Or, finishing in 8th place. He was named in the six man shortlist for the 2008 Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, and was selected in the FIFA World XI for the third time in his career.
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. Kaká finished his final season with AC Milan by scoring 16 goals, allowing Milan to finish tied in second place with Juventus, once again being elected as a finalist for the FIFA World Player of the Year Award, finishing in fourth place for the second consecutive year. He was also nominated for the Ballon D'Or award, finishing in sixth place, and was named in the UEFA Team of the Year for the third time in his career.
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 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’s move to the Bernabéu on a six-year deal.
Kaká was unveiled as a Real Madrid player on 30 June 2009, and he 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 win against Villarreal. Real Madrid finished the season as Runner's-up in La Liga, with Kaká scoring 8 goals and providing 6 assists in La Liga, and 9 goals and 8 assists in all competitions.
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, although they finished as runners-up in both La Liga and in the Supercopa de España to rivals Barcelona. Real Madrid were also knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Barcelona in the semifinals of the competition. Kaká finished his season with 7 goals and 6 assists in all competitions in 20 appearances.
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, with Kaká providing 9 assists and scoring 5 goals in the competition. They were, however, eliminated for the second year in a row in the semifinals of the Champions League, losing out to eventual runners-up Bayern Munich on penalties. The decisive misses for Real Madrid were by Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaká and Sergio Ramos. Kaká was one of the top assist providers of the Champions League that season, providing 5 assists. He finished the season with 8 goals and 14 assists in all club competitions. Real Madrid were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey by the eventual winners, Barcelona.
Real Madrid began the 2012–13 season by winning the 2012 Supercopa de España against rivals Barcelona. 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 controversially 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. Real Madrid finished the season in second place in La Liga behind Barcelona and also finished runners-up in the Copa del Rey Final to Intercity rivals Atletico de Madrid. They were eliminated in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League for the third consecutive year, by eventual runners-up Borussia Dortmund.
On 29 August 2013, Kaká expressed his desire to leave Real Madrid, having scored 32 goals and provided 32 assists in 120 appearances over four seasons at the club. He said goodbye to Real Madrid and its fans in an open letter on Twitter.
Return to Milan
Milan confirmed that Kaká would join the club on 2 September 2013 from Real Madrid on a free transfer with only performance-related incentives due to Madrid, after agreeing terms and signing a two-year contract. Kaká's contract was worth €4 million net per year and was given the number 22 shirt, the same number he wore for Milan during his first spell. He was also made the vice-captain upon his arrival. He captained Milan in his debut for second spell, taking the armband from Marco Amelia in a match against FC Chiasso.
Kaká tore his left adductor muscle during his first competitive appearance, and decided not to accept any wages while he regained fitness. He made his return for Milan on 19 October after coming on as a 76th-minute substitute in a 1–0 home victory against Udinese. In his next match, on 22 October, Kaká assisted Robinho in the 1–1 home draw against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League. His first goal, described by ESPN as "a sensational curling shot from the edge of the area into the top right-hand corner", opened the scoring in a 1–1 draw at home to Lazio on 30 October. In 7 January 2014, Kaká scored his 100th goal for Milan by an opening goal in a match against Atalanta, he later went on to score another goal 30 minutes later. On 29 March 2014, Kaká scored twice in a 3–0 win against Chievo Verona, the match was also his 300th for Milan. In June 2014, it was reported that Kaká had entered into advanced discussions with Orlando City to join the team in January 2015 when they enter Major League Soccer.
On 30 June 2014, Kaká had his Milan contract terminated through mutual consent despite having a year remaining, by activating a release clause as a result of the team not qualifying for European competitions. He joined future Major League Soccer franchise Orlando City as their first Designated Player. He stated that he had "always" wanted to play in the United States, and cited the Brazilian owner Flávio Augusto da Silva as a reason for signing. Until Orlando entered the league in 2015, Kaká was loaned to his first club São Paulo, which he called "really satisfying".
São Paulo (loan)
On 3 July 2014, Kaká arrived at São Paulo and began training the next day. He made his comeback in a league match against Goiás on 27 July 2014, starting and scoring a goal in the 76th minute, although his team lost 2–1.
On 4 September 2014, in the second round of the Copa Sudamericana; Kaká scored in a 2–0 victory over Criciúma. On 9 November 2014, Kaká scored the winning goal in a 2–1 victory over Vitória.
Return to Orlando City
Kaká scored in his first match for Orlando City, a 4–0 friendly win over FC Dallas. Kaká then scored again in a 1–1 friendly draw against New York City FC. On 8 March 2015, Kaká scored a free kick for the equaliser in a 1–1 draw on his MLS debut against New York City FC at the Citrus Bowl, the first in Orlando City's competitive history. Kaká scored one and assisted another in a 2–2 draw with Montreal Impact on 28 March 2015. Kaká came second in the Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month poll for his performances in March.
On 13 April 2015, Kaká scored a penalty against Portland Timbers in a 2–0 win. On 17 May 2015, Kaká scored one and assisted another in Orlando City's 4–0 win over defending MLS champions, LA Galaxy. By doing so, Orlando City became the first expansion team to beat a defending MLS champion by more than three goals. On 5 July, he received the first straight red card of his career in a 1–1 away draw against Real Salt Lake; he had previously scored a goal during the match. Later that month, Kaká was named to the 2015 MLS All-Star Game as the team's captain. During the MLS All-Star Game on 29 July, at the Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado, he scored from a penalty and later assisted David Villa as the MLS All-Stars defeated Tottenham 2–1; Kaká was named MVP of the match. Despite his efforts, he was unable to help Orlando City become the first expansion team to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs since the Seattle Sounders, who had qualified for the playoffs in their inaugural season in 2009, as Orlando narrowly missed out on the sixth seed spot in the Eastern Conference.
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 Brazil's 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning squad in Korea/Japan, 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, 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. Kaká was unable to keep up the momentum for the remainder of the tournament, as Brazil was eliminated by France in the quarter-finals with French star Thierry Henry scoring the winner. In a friendly against rivals Argentina on 3 September 2006, after entering as a substitute, Kaká 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, wearing the number 10 shirt, 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. Kaká also provided two assists throughout the tournament. 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.
At the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa, during the match against Côte d'Ivoire on 20 June, Kaká received a controversial red card after receiving two yellow cards. The second card was given for an alleged elbow in the direction of Abdul Kader Keïta. Kaká ended the tournament with three assists in total, as the joint-top assist provider, although he failed to score a goal during the tournament. Brazil eventually ended up losing 2–1 to World Cup eventual runners-up Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the tournament. After more than a year absence from the national team due to a series of injuries, 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 a calf 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 the first time since the coach's return, for friendlies with Italy in London and Russia in Geneva, both taking place late in that month. However, Kaká was not selected for the national team for the 2013 Confederations Cup and he was also omitted in Scolari's 2014 FIFA World Cup squad. After almost 18 months, Kaká was recalled to the Brazilian team in October 2014 by new manager Dunga, for friendlies against Argentina and Japan.
On 1 May 2015, Kaká was selected as one of seven stand-by players in Brazil's preliminary squad for the 2015 Copa América, although he was not called up for the final tournament. In August 2015, he was called up to the national team once again for the team's international friendlies in September, and made a substitute appearance in Brazil's 1–0 victory over Costa Rica on 5 September; this was his first appearance for Brazil in almost a year, and his 90th appearance for his country overall.
Style of play
Regarded as one of the best players of his generation, Kaká has been described on the FIFA website as having the "capacity to glide almost effortlessly past opponents, provide defence-splitting passes and score consistently from distance". Especially during his prime at Milan in the 2000s (and prior to the injuries he suffered at Real Madrid, which have affected him physically) he was a quick, strong, agile, highly skilful and creative team player with excellent balance, capable of dribbling past defenders in one on one situations as well as during counterattacks. Kaká is also renowned for his vision and passing ability, enabling him to create chances for team mates.
Having performed predominantly as a playmaking attacking midfielder throughout his career, he is known for being capable of scoring goals as well as creating and assisting them. A versatile player, he has been deployed in other attacking positions, performing as a winger on either flank, as a supporting forward, and on occasion as a striker. In addition to these characteristics, Kaká also possesses a powerful and accurate shot from both inside and outside the penalty area, with both feet; he is also an accurate penalty taker.
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). In 2015 Kaká and Celico announced their divorce via social media.
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.
Kaká appeared on the cover of the Italian edition of EA Sports' FIFA video game FIFA 07, alongside compatriot and global coverstar Ronaldinho; he was also featured on the cover of some regional editions of FIFA 11, FIFA 12, and FIFA 16.
Kaká cites Raí, the former Brazilian and São Paulo FC captain, as his footballing role model. He is best friends with Marcelo Saragosa, who plays professionally for Tampa Bay Rowdies in the U.S. second division. They each served as the best man at the other's wedding. He is also close friends with Radamel Falcao.
In April 2012 Kaká became the first sportsperson to amass 10 million followers on Twitter, and by March 2015, Kaká had the fifth highest social media rank in the world among athletes, behind Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, David Beckham and Neymar, with 33 million Facebook fans.
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: "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.
- As of match played on 25 October 2015.