Kaka Says He Won't Renew Contract with Orlando City After Season

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistOctober 11, 2017

ORLANDO, FL - JULY 21: Kaka of Orlando City during the MLS match between Atlanta United and Orlando City at Orlando City Stadium on July 21, 2017 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Brazilian midfielder Kaka has confirmed he will not be renewing his contract with Orlando City at the end of the Major League Soccer season.

"I want to announce that I am not going to renew my contract with Orlando City," he said on Wednesday, per Football Italia. "That is all I want to announce. I will honour the Orlando shirt to the end of the season."

The 35-year-old joined in 2014 amid much fanfare and has been a key figure for the team. However, Kaka has admitted recently he is beginning to feel the strain of so much football and will be embarking on a new challenge at the end of the year.

"I don’t feel joy in playing football anymore, as I feel pain every time I finish a match," he told Globoesporte (h/t Football Italia). "My body doesn’t deal with it very well now and at the age of 35 it is very difficult to recover every time."

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 27:  Kaka attends a press conference ahead of tomorrow's 'The Dugout' YouTube Live TV Show on June 27, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Raphael Dias/Getty Images for Adidas)
Raphael Dias/Getty Images

Despite admitting such wear and tear, the former Real Madrid and AC Milan star was adamant he could still offer something and would not be hanging up his boots quite yet.

"My decision not to renew the contract was not based on a physical issue and neither will the next step in my career," he said at Wednesday’s briefing. “What’s next for me is just this moment, so the only thing I know right now is that I won’t be an Orlando City player next season. That is the only certainty I have."

During his time with the Florida outfit, Kaka has made 44 appearances in total, netting 15 goals in the process, six of which have come in the current campaign.

Speaking at the press conference, Orlando’s majority owner Flavio Augusto da Silva thanked the Brazilian for his three years of service, per Alicia Rose DelGallo of the Orlando Sentinel:

Indeed, Kaka arrived in the club’s debut season as a top-flight franchise and netted the first MLS goal in the team’s history, scoring in injury time to grab a 1-1 draw against New York City FC.

Unfortunately for the legendary playmaker, he will almost certainly leave Orlando without having won silverware or featured in the playoffs. The team currently sit in 10th in the Eastern Conference, seven points back on sixth place New York Red Bulls.

Kaka is most remembered for his form at AC Milan, where he won the UEFA Champions League, the Serie A title and in 2007 the coveted Ballon d’Or. 

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