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Brazilian Footballer Ricardo Kaka

Updated on April 5, 2015

Before there was Tim Tebow there was Ricardo Kaká. A talented football player, Kaká has always highlighted his faith whenever he has seen an opportunity.

Kaka at a football game.
Kaka at a football game. | Source
A younger Kaka when he played for  Sao Paulo FC.
A younger Kaka when he played for Sao Paulo FC. | Source

Those who love football all agree that Kaká has a great attitude along with great skill and the two qualities combined is what makes many people love and admire him.

He was not always known as Kaká, though. His real name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite.

So how did he end up being known as Ricardo Kaká?

As a child his younger brother, Rodrigo (known as Digao in the football world), could not pronounce Ricardo and called him Caca (probably because the ca in the name Ricardo stood out to him) this stuck and all that changed was the spelling. Caca became Kaka.

He started playing football at a very young age. When he was just seven he was discovered by the Sao Paulo Football Club. He stayed on their youth team for eleven years and then at nineteen years of age he joined their senior team.

Just a year before that, Kaká had been in a terrible accident damaging his back. Doctors were amazed that he was not crippled and called it luck, but Kaká proclaimed that it was the Lord who protected him and continues to give God the glory to this day.

Some of Kaka's goals at A.C. Milan.

His success on the senior team caused European teams to look closely at him and in 2003, he was signed with the Italian football club, A.C. Milan.

Kaká At A.C. Milan

At A.C. Milan, Kaká proved himself to be a valuable player. He was not only a skilled player but he was a team player. He showed his worth in countless matches and it may have seemed like there was not a time when Kaká was not at A.C. Milan. His loyalty was a kind of loyalty one does not see very often. When he was asked whether he would leave the club he said that if it was up to him he would become an old man on the team and he would play on A.C. Milan for his entire career. His love for his team was something that made those who love the game of football have respect for him because it is not a quality that many players have.

Then the dreaded news arrived - Kaká would be leaving A.C. Milan. He had stated emphatically that he was against it and there were even tears on his part but eventually his fight to stay at the club he loved was over and he started a new chapter of his career at Real Madrid.

Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo Interview

Kaka's goals at Real Madrid

Kaká At Real Madrid

In August 2009, Kaká started his football career at Real Madrid. Kaká was not the only new player to the team. Cristiano Ronaldo had joined Real Madrid in July and there was much speculation about how the two would get along. It is well-known that Kaká's attitude to life and the game of football is somewhat different to Cristiano Ronaldo's and many wondered if the two would clash on the field as well as off of it.

Those who were concerned, it appeared, were concerned over nothing. The two seemed to hit it off immediately and Ronaldo's attitude towards Kaká was nothing like anyone expected. Unfortunately, not very long after signing, Kaká was injured and was on the bench for a few months and those who were rooting for the player felt concern about the amount of time he received after his recovery. Kaká remained positive stating that he believed that whatever happened to him he believed to be God's will.

The patience he displayed while quietly waiting for his turn bore fruit, and he was able to display his talent on the field once again, showing that he had not lost his touch and that he was still very much a force to be reckoned with on his team. He has continued to build and show that patience and perseverance are qualities that are beneficial to everyone.

After leaving Real Madrid, Kaka went on to play once more with A.C. Milan for a short time. In 2013, after being injured, he refused to receive his wages until he was able to play. He left Milan to be on loan to Sao Paulo while waiting to begin his time at the American football club Orlando City. It was said that he chose to return to Sao Paulo for that time because he has always appreciated his old club.

Although he was not chosen to play for his country, Brazil, in the 2014 World Cup, Kaka still rallied around those who did get selected and made sure to voice his total support for the team.

A snapshot of Kaka's football boots.
A snapshot of Kaka's football boots. | Source

Although he loves football, Kaká loves being a husband and a father more, and even more than that, he loves to have the chance to tell anyone who will listen about Jesus Christ and what He has done. It was well known that while on A.C. Milan, he would speak to his fellow players about Him and it has been said that he continues to witness today to the players on Real Madrid. They could not expect less for that is a quality that defines who Kaká is.

Kaka and his family
Kaka and his family | Source

Fun Facts About Kaká

  • His wife's name is Caroline Celico
  • He has a son named Luca and a daughter named Isabella
  • Along with being a citizen of Brazil by birth, he is an Italian citizen
  • His best friend is Marcelo Saragosa another football player
  • His birthday is one day apart from his daughter's being the 22nd of April (1982) while his daughter Isabella's is the 23rd of April (2011)
  • His favorite color is white
  • He has won the Ballon d'Or, the FIFA Player of the Year, the Oscar del Calcio, Serie A Foreign Player of the Year, Golden Ball, UEFA Champions League Top Scorer Award, and the World Soccer Player of the Year Award to name a few.
  • His favorite cologne is Hugo Boss and Calvin Klein
  • His parents names are Forest Izecson Pereira Leite and Simone Cristina dos Santos Leite
  • He wears contact lenses while playing a match
  • His brother Digao played for A.C. Milan
  • His favorite book is the Bible
  • He is 6' 1"
  • Gareth Bale is actually his tenant as he stays in Kaka's mansion while playing for Real Madrid.



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    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      7 years ago from The World (for now)

      I agree with you as well. I don't think Brits have as much interest as Americans when it comes to a player's beliefs. The nicknames the British press comes up with are amazing though. They are quite clever with their headlines.

    • profile image 

      7 years ago from Vancouver / Bangkok

      I must admit, you are correct that the British press tries to dig up all the dirt on players and coaches. Rumors about what they do off the pitch are just as popular as stories about what they do on the pitch. I still don't think they care which God you pray to, that doesn't interest the Brits too much .. not like in America.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      7 years ago from The World (for now)

      I realized that you are a fan, I call it football but I recognize that some of my readers will call it soccer and so I must accommodate for both :)

      I have read countless things about footballers from all over the world in the British press that has absolutely nothing to do with how well they play football but I do know that the they talk about Kaka's skill more than personal life, you are right. Maybe it is because Kaka has not played in the EPL? I am sure you will agree that the British press tries to find out any and everything about certain footballers. Maybe the ones who they think Brits will be interested in? (Speculating here). It is like that with other countries too. They will talk solely on a player's skill according to who the player is in relation to the country. They will talk about the player's personal life if the player has more to do with the country. Anyway, whatever the reason, I do know lots about Kaka and his faith because of the media. He is quite vocal about it.

      Thanks again.

    • profile image 

      7 years ago from Vancouver / Bangkok

      I am a fan of soccer, or football or both .. whatever you want to call it. I am very familiar with Kaka as a footballer, I have followed his career for years because I sell his shirts, and I wasn't even aware that he was known for his faith, in the British press, they talk more about his ability to play football, and that is the way it should be.

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      7 years ago from The World (for now)


      I understand what you mean and agree with you somewhat. I actually referred to Tim Tebow because of that. I don't watch American football at all but his name was in the news a lot and many people expressed that they liked him a lot. The fame that he seems to have now is what Kaka has had for a long time. That is what I was trying to point out. Kaka is loved because of his football skills, I agree, but, he is also loved for his unshaken faith. I know many people who did not watch football (soccer) but heard about Kaka and his testimony and began to watch the game because of him. I think that he is a favorite because of his behavior, character and skills on and off the pitch. As I said, I really don't know much about Tim Tebow or his skills as an American football player. All I know is that he is a footballer who is a Christian and that Kaka is a footballer (soccer player to Americans) and a Christian which was the simple similarity I was trying to show between him and Kaka.

      Thanks for the comment and for the information on Tebow.

    • profile image 

      7 years ago from Vancouver / Bangkok

      I wouldn't compare Tim Tebow and Kaka, for starters .. Kaka is a superstar, based on his ability as a great football player, and all the attention he gets from media and fans seems to be more based on his play than anything to do with his religion. Tebow on the other hand is a backup QB, and nowhere near a star player by any stretch of the imagination, and he is showered with attention and constantly in the spotlight, not because he is a great or even a good player, but because he uses his facetime in the NFL to promote his religious beliefs.. And many people grow tired of hearing about it .. including myself!

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      7 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi IZ7LJM,

      Sorry I took so long to answer you. Your comment is so true. Kaka is a great champion and a great man. I do think that Real Madrid has a gem on their hands and that even when he is not treated as he should be, his loyalty is admirable. Any team would love to have him on their side.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

    • IZ7LJM profile image


      7 years ago from Galatone ( Lecce) Italia

      follow Kaka' from when the Milan has purchased him/it very young for few dollars. Then you/he/she has won all with the Milanese team. Him and' a great champion and a great man!! His/her wife and' a good girl. The Real Madrid after having purchased him/it for so many dollars, has valorized never it more' of so much and continuous to underestimate him/it. It keeps on sitting in bench and and' indeed scandalous that this happens to a great champion as him. Him even if continuous to be abused you/he/she has sworn fidelity' to the sweater and the cause of the Real Madrid. I hope that Kaka' lathes to play full time. And' sure that the Milan immediately would take back him/it to make to return him/it to be the more soccer player' strong to the world together with Envoys!!

    • North Wind profile imageAUTHOR

      North Wind 

      7 years ago from The World (for now)

      Hi Marie-Renee!

      Kaka has definitely displayed his loyalty to Real Madrid and I do feel that he really is a part of the team. His relationship with his wife is another plus and I agree Caroline truly appears to have her husband and children;s best interests at heart and does not get caught up in the drama WAGs are notorious for.

      I am so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for reading and sharing :)

    • Marie-Renee profile image


      7 years ago

      Another great hub from you about our beloved football players. At first I was also hesitant about Kaka, for one I think that RM was spending way too much for these players and not taking care of their very own. Still, Kaka has shown his loyalty to the team and to Madridismo and we can all be grateful for that. If there is another thing that I appreciate him for aside from his faith is his relationship with his wife. And Caroline is also one of the most grounded WAGs, no notoriety, no dramas..simply a wife and a mother. Voted up and shared.


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