He is the standard-bearer of the modern game.
Kaká started his footballing career at the age of 8 when he began playing for a local club called "Alphaville". By then he also played Tennis, and it wasn`t until he moved on to Sao Paolo FC, and signed his first professional contract at the age of fifteen that it came by that he had chosen football.
He was the recipient of both the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2007. Besides his contributions on the pitch Kaká is also famous for his humanitarian works, and work against poverty. In 2004, By the time of his appointment he became the youngest Ambassador of UNICEF food program. Having coming back from an almost paralyzing accident in 2001 at the age of eighteen, Kaká attributes his recovery to God.
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite was born in Brasília to Simone Cristina Santos Leite and Bosco Izecson Pereira Leite (a civil engineer). He had a financially-secure upbringing that allowed him to focus on both school and football at the same time.His younger brother, Rodrigo (known as Digão), is also a professional footballer.
When he was seven, his 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 eighteen, 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 grassroots club São Paulo at the age of eight. He signed a contract at 15 and led the São Paulo youth squad to Copa de Juvenil glory. Kaká made his senior side debut in January 2001 and scored 12 goals in 27 appearances, in addition to leading São Paulo to its first and only Torneio Rio-São Paulo championship where he scored two goals in two minutes in his first team debut as a substitute against Botafogo in the final which Sao Paolo won with 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 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 Sc
udetto and the UEFA Super Cup. Kaká also finished his first season with an average mark of 7.69 per game, ahead of Golden ball winner , Pavel Nedvěd, with 7.30. In comparison to other great playmakers of world football recorded considerably lower ratings during their debut seasons, such as Diego Maradona (6.93), Falcão (6.79), Zico (6.74) and Michel Platini (6.48).
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, he was nonetheless voted the best midfielder of the tournament.
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.
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 quarterfinals on a 1–0 aggregate, and three others proved fatal for Manchester United in the semifinals, 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 May 23, 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 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 February 29, 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. Milandirector 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, 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 [AC Milan] to lose €70m [...] The reasons behind Kaká's departure would be economic." On 8 June, A.C. Milan and Real Madrid confirmed Kaká has moved to the Bernabeu on a six-year deal.
Kaká was called up for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship but the Brazilians crashed out to Ghana at the quarterfinals. Several months later, he made his debut for Brazil in a friendly match against Bolivia on January 31, 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 as 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 quarterfinals. In a friendly against rivals Argentina on September 3, 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 May 12, 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 o
n August 22, 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 June 14, 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 and was named the Player of the Tournament at the Confederations Cup after helping Brazil to a 3-2 win in the final against USA.
A devout evangelical Christian, Kaká became engrossed in religion at the age of twelve: "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.
Kaká is a member of the organization Atletas de Cristo ("Athletes of Christ"). His goal celebration consists of him pointing 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 United Nations' World Food Programme, the youngest to do so at the time of his appointment.
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 married his childhood sweetheart Caroline Celico on 23 December 2005 at the evangelical Reborn in Christ Church in São Paulo. Their first child, Luca Celico Leite, was born in São Paulo on June 10, 2008.
Raí, the former Seleçao and São Paulo captain, has always been the idol of Kaká. Kaká's best friend is Chivas USA midfielder and fellow Brazilian Marcelo Saragosa. They both served as best man at the other's wedding
NicknameHis nickname is pronounced as it is spelled, with stress on the second syllable, and is a common term of endearment of "Ricardo" in Brazil. In Kaká's case, it was born from younger brother Rodrigo calling him "Cacá" due to his inability to pronounce "Ricardo" when they were young; it eventually evolved into Kaká.
- Copa São Paulo de Juniores: 2000
- Torneio Rio-São Paulo: 2001
- Supercampeonato Paulista: 2002
- Serie A: 2003–04
- Italian Super Cup: 2003-04
- UEFA Champions League: 2006-07
- UEFA Super Cup: 2003-04, 2007-08
- FIFA Club World Cup: 2007-08
- FIFA World Cup: 2002
- FIFA Confederations Cup: 2005, 2009
- Revista Placar Bola de Ouro: 2002
- Campeonato Brasileiro Bola de Prata (best player by position): 2002
- CONCACAF Gold Cup Best XI: 2003
- Serie A Best new player: 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
- 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
- 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