AC Milan legend Kaka has left the club in order to move to the U.S. to play in the MLS with Orlando City. But the Brazilian will not join his new team until 2015 and will spend an extended period on loan with Sao Paulo.
Tony Mahoney of Goal.com writes that the attacker will return to his first club in Brazil until he makes his permanent move to Orlando.
Milan confirmed the news of Kaka's departure via their Twitter account, and they tweeted an emotional goodbye message:
Football Italia also tweeted about the breaking news, confirming that Kaka had activated his release clause in his Milan contract:
Sao Paulo vice-president Ataide Gil Guerreiro has publicly spoken about the deals to take the player to the MLS via his club, on loan.
Official: Kaka is no longer a Milan player. He has activated the release clause in his contract. Story to follow..— footballitalia (@footballitalia) June 30, 2014
He told Redacao SporTV, as per Mahoney:
After 60 days of negotiations we have reached an agreement, but there isn't anything formal yet. There are steps to be taken but when it comes to values, there is an agreement between all parties involved – Milan, MLS, Orlando, Kaka and Sao Paulo.
He will sign a contract with the MLS. Clubs can choose three designated players, Orlando chose Kaka. He will undergo a medical and will join Orlando, then he will be loaned to Sao Paulo for six months until December 31.
Not only is Kaka excited, but he is also physically peaking.
Orlando City SC tweeted this graphic following the news:
FOX Sports Soccer tweeted a picture once he arrived to Orlando:
The 32-year-old played 36 times for Milan last season in La Liga and Europe, per WhoScored.com, scoring nine times and providing five assists.
But it was an unhappy year, as the club crashed during their campaign, only finishing a poor eighth in Serie A.
Despite the club's disappointments in recent times, Kaka was a fan favourite, and his loss will be felt by the San Siro team.
Legendary defender Franco Baresi took to his Twitter account to say goodbye to the attacker, posting a picture of the player with a famous trophy haul at Milan:
And Kris Voakes, international football correspondent for Goal.com, tweeted his opinion about the departing Brazilian:
Kaka's departure from European football sees the end of a player who shone brightly in Italian football for many years.
His time at Real Madrid may well have been less fruitful than he had hoped, but at his best, he was unplayable at Milan.
Has Kaka made the right decision to leave AC Milan?
The time is right for Milan to part company with the player as they attempt to rebuild after a rotten season in Serie A. They need to free up funds to sign fresh, young talent, and Kaka's presence would only have hindered this.
He will be remembered as one of Europe's great footballers and is sure to be a success in the MLS.
The lesser demands of football in the U.S. will suit him at this stage of his career, and Orlando will offer him fresh challenges that Italy no longer can.