International

Brazilian star Kaka announces retirement

2017-12-17 22:01
Kaka (Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro - Former Brazilian World Cup champion Kaka announced his retirement as a player on Sunday, suggesting that a management career at his old club AC Milan could be on the cards.

"I am preparing to continue in football and to have a different role, but I will no longer be a professional player, an athlete," the 2007 Ballon d'Or winner told Globo television.

"I would like to take part in a club in a role more like... a manager, a sporting director - someone between the field and the club."

Kaka, 35, said AC Milan "recently made this proposal".

On his Twitter feed, devout Christian Kaka, who was part of Brazil's 2002 World Cup-winning team, wrote: "Father, It was much more than I could ever imagined. Thank you! I'm now ready for the next journey. In Jesus' name. Amem."

He started his storied career with Sao Paulo in Brazil, where his performances attracted the attention of Europe's leading clubs and prompted a move to Milan in 2003.

It was while at Milan that Kaka picked up the Ballon d'Or, awarded annually to the world's best player. He was the last player other than Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to receive the prize.

He also helped the Italian side to a Serie A title in 2003-04 and propelled Milan to 2007 Champions League glory, scoring a competition-best 10 goals as the club were crowned kings of Europe for the seventh time.

The hugely talented attacking midfielder joined Real Madrid in 2009 for a then world record transfer worth €68 million, but Kaka struggled to consistently reproduce his top form in the Spanish capital.

He won the Copa del Rey in 2011 and was part of Jose Mourinho's team that won the league crown a year later, but he fell out of favour in Madrid and returned to Milan on a free transfer in September 2013.

Kaka was unveiled as the face of Major League Soccer's (MLS) expansion franchise Orlando City in 2014, heading home for a brief reunion with Sao Paulo ahead of the US club's debut season in 2015.

He scored the MLS team's first ever goal and was the North American league's highest-paid player for three years running before leaving Orlando in October.

He scored 29 goals in 92 international appearances for Brazil, although having been overlooked for the 2014 World Cup on home soil he was also ruled out of last year's Copa America Centenario by injury.

In November, media reports said he had been considering a move to Guizhou Hengfeng Zhicheng in the Chinese Super League.

Spain's La Liga paid homage to Kaka on its Twitter account, saying: "One of football's greatest talents is hanging up his boots after a glittering career."

However, Kaka said his transition off the pitch wasn't being taken for granted.

"The fact of having had successes as a professional player does not mean I will or won't be a good manager. So I want to prepare myself for this going ahead, to study, to follow, to be closer to certain clubs, especially those where I played," he told Globo.

Read more on:    kaka  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Do you think SAFA made the right choice in appointing Stuart Baxter as head coach of Bafana Bafana?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.