Before Ronaldo and Messi established the dominant position in the race to win the Golden Ball, Ricardo Kaka appeared with talent, glory and became the best player in the world.
The world premiere
Ricardo Kaka seems to be aware that his career will reflect the rapidly changing nature of world football. He is the last great player of the football era of continuous coverage and pre-social media era. He was also the first player in modern football, won everything, broke all statistics and had a comprehensive offensive style of play.
Kaka is one of eight players who have won the World Cup, Champions League and the Golden Ball, on par with Sir Bobby Charlton, Gerd Muller, Franz Beckenbauer, Paolo Rossi, Zinedine Zidane, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho. In other words, He is the “8th wonder” of the old football world.
Kaka was very close to the prospect of not becoming a professional footballer. At the age of 18, his career was threatened with a spinal fracture and potentially paralyzed in a pool accident. However, his injuries miraculously recovered after only a week.
Possessing a height of 1.86m plus the ability to balance, incredible acceleration and the tendency to move forward helps Kaka easily remove all defenses. Meanwhile, tactical vision and excellent passing skills have turned him into a modern “No. 10”.
Before the 2002 World Cup, Rivaldo, a legend of Barcelona and the Brazilian national team, commented on Kaka: “There is a young talent in Sao Paulo named Kaka, the player playing behind the striker 2 people. Please pay attention to this name if he is chosen. ”
His chance at the 2002 World Cup, the tournament taking place in Korea and Japan, was only a mere 25 minutes in Brazil’s 5-2 victory over Costa Rica in Group C. However, he still finished the tournament with champion status.
The following season, the Golden Ball Kaka was recruited by the 2003 Champions League champion, AC Milan for € 8.5 million. Milan owner at the time, Silvio Berlusconi, said that the fee was only peanuts and he will soon prove his talent.
Youth in Milan
Ricardo Kaka immediately conquered coach Carlo Ancelotti with talent. He kicked the man Manuel Rui Costa onto the bench with speed, superior tactical vision and table tennis skills.
On the first day in Milan, he was compared to “a student” because of his stature. Shortly thereafter, coach Ancelotti started calling Kaka by the name “New Michel Platini”, Pele likened Kaka to the “new Johan Cruyff” and the legendary Socrates compared him to Zico.
In the first season, Milan with Kaka was the champion of the Rossoneri Serie A. champion that year was considered by the Italian experts to be the “most romantic championship” in the new era.
However, his 2004/05 season ended in disappointment: runner-up in the Serie A championship race and fell victim to the Champions League final, where Liverpool came back from a 3-3 draw. 3-2 win over Milan on penalties.
Finally, 2006/07 is really his peak season. The Rossoneri, after losing Andriy Shevchenko, had to switch to a pine tree formation with Clarence Seedorf and Ricardo Kaka playing behind Filippo Inzaghi.
At 24, the Brazilian star played the most explosive season of his career. He played solo Celtic in 1/8 Champions League round with a solo screen from the middle of the pitch. In two Champions League semi-final matches with MU, Kaka turned Cristiano Ronaldo into a second-class star.
He scored twice in the first leg. In particular, the second goal of Kaka showed speed, power, quick wit and ability to balance under great pressure. It was a goal that only he could score. In the second leg, he scored 1 more goal to help Milan crush “Reds” 3-0.
Nothing can stop the talented striker from winning the Champions League again. He returned the debt to Liverpool with a 2-1 victory in the final with an assist for Inzaghi. He became the best player in the world and won the convincing Golden Ball.
Unfortunately, right after reaching the peak of his career, Kaka suffered a series of injuries. Problems with his knees and groin made his explosive performances no longer appear often.
Ricardo Kaka rejected Man City’s € 110 million offer and agreed to join Real Madrid for a fee of € 67 million. He became the most expensive player in the world and was welcomed by 55,000 Real Madrid fans on his opening day at the Santiago Bernabeu. But just a week later, Cristiano Ronaldo broke a record with a 90 million euros contract made by Real Madrid himself.
Kaka has never been himself at Real Madrid. The time he spent with “Los Blancos” was shadowed by injuries and conflicts with coach Jose Mourinho.
In 2013, he decided to return to Milan when his peak career was over. In his final years, he returned to Sao Paulo, where he started his career, then retired from Orlando City in December 2017.
The Golden Ball Kaka, “the last wonder of the old football world”, probably suffered the most for change. By the end of his career, Ricardo Kaka was asked about the goal that made himself feel the proudest. He answered that it was a goal that helped Brazil seal a 3-0 victory over Argentina in 2006, not Man United or Empoli in 2003.
At that moment, Kaka made a sprint from the middle of the pitch, overcame Leo Messi, removed the hindrance of the Argentine defense and defeated goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri. It was the goal of a mix of speed, swiping, calm, enchanting steps and great finishing.
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One way or another, that was all Ricardo Kaka wanted to say. His greatness is like the 8th wonder of a bygone football era.