By DAN KARELL
The arrival of Ricardo Kaka to Major League Soccer is about to become a reality after a long courtship.
According to a report in the Orlando Sentinel, Kaka has opted out of his contract with AC Milan and has officially signed a deal to become Orlando City Soccer Club’s first ever Designated Player signing. Kaka is set to arrive in Orlando on Monday evening and the club will ask fans to greet the Brazilian midfielder at Orlando International Airport, the report adds.
As of posting, neither Orlando City SC and Sao Paulo FC have officially commented on the Sunday report. Orlando City, however, released a statement on June 20 saying they were in “advanced discussions” with Kaka.
Kaka is expected to be officially introduced as an Orlando City player at a press conference on Tuesday at 10 a.m. and then again in the afternoon to fans at a USA World Cup watch party.
Due to the the timing of the signing, Kaka will spend the next six months on loan with his boyhood club Sao Paulo FC before returning for OCSC preseason next January.
Although he’s clearly lost some of his speed and skill from his prime, the 32-year-old Kaka represents the first MLS signing to be a former FIFA Ballon d’Or winner, which Kaka won in 2007.
Kaka brings with him a career full of titles and silverware for club and country, not to mention personal awards. After moving to Milan from Sao Paulo for 8.5 million euros in 2003, Kaka led the Italian giants to a Serie A title, UEFA Champions League title, UEFA Supercup title, and Club World Cup title. After making a 65 million euros move to Real Madrid in 2009, Kaka struggled to recover the form that made him shine in Italy, though he helped Los Blancos win La Liga in 2012 and the Copa Del Rey the year before.
He won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and was a starter at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, appearing in 87 matches and scoring 29 goals.
Kaka returned to Milan just before the end of the 2013 summer transfer window on a free transfer, but he was able to opt-out of his two-year contract with the Italian club because they failed to qualify for European competitions next season. Milan finished in a disappointing eighth place in the league in 2013-2014.
What do you think of this news? Excited to see MLS sign a former FIFA Player of the Year? How do you expect Kaka to fit into the MLS style of play?
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