One of the 21st century's finest footballers is without a doubt the Brazilian playmaker Ricardo Kaka, recently purchased by Spanish giants Real Madrid for a colossal sum of what is believed to be in the region of £56 million. Witnessed by many as a ridiculous amount to be paying for one single player, is this really a fair claim?
Since signing for AC Milan in 2003 from the Brazilian outfit Sao Paulo, Kaka has emerged as one of the best players in the world and he boasts a huge collection of individual honors such as the Ballon D'or and FIFA World Player of the Year, to name a few. After swooping to sign him for a measly €8.5 million, the club's owner Silvio Berlusconi described the fee as "peanuts," and this statement was indeed justified during his stay in Milan.
Breathtaking pace, unthinkable amounts of energy, eye for goal, impeccable technique...the list goes of his talents goes on and it wasn't long before he was adored by the Rossoneri faithful. While his impact for AC Milan has been overwhelming at times, his performances for Brazil have also seen him become somewhat of an idol for millions worldwide.
It is easy to suddenly admire a footballer for his talents and achievements within the game, but something that Kaka possesses in contrast to so many players is his contribution to society. The Brazilian maestro is a strong Christian and this has a significant influence on his lifestyle and more evidently his trademark goal celebration in which he points to the heavens.
A marvellous act of his unselfish nature is exemplified in his funding of a church in his hometown of Brasilia with his earnings. This incredible gesture of kindness will rarely be seen in the modern way of life but this incredibly gifted and honest individual continues to outshine many, whether it be on the football pitch or in the community. A man who is known to stay true to his word, and is never seen making the headlines for the wrong reasons, can we really question his value?
The heart and soul of AC Milan's team and spirit, despite having departed the Black and Red side of Milan, will never be forgotten and AC Milan are a club which will always stay in his heart. Fond memories of him are felt by the club and their supporters, with a club statement reading: "AC Milan thank the man and the great champion Kaka for his decisive contribution to the many victories achieved in the six years of his commitment." Whereas many clubs could have held grudges against their talismanic figure leaving for another side, Kaka received a warm and emotional farewell which he thoroughly deserved.
However, one question yet to be answered is whether this great man can become as iconic in Madrid as he did in Milan and Sao Paulo. After his explosive start to the Confederations Cup for Brazil with a brace against Egypt in the opening group game, it could well be suggested that he intends to carry on from where he left off in Italy. A great athlete, brilliant professional and an admirable person—Ricardo Kaka truly is a modern icon.