When Kaka joined AC Milan in 2003 at the tender age of 21, few expected him to have such instant success. Well, at least not the management of Sao Paulo; otherwise they wouldn’t have sold him for only 8.5 million.
Kaka initially came in as a replacement for Portuguese star midfielder Rui Costa. But a month later he cracked the starting lineup in a 2-0 home victory over Ancona. His early performances were so impressive that Carlo Ancelotti kept him in the lineup for the rest of the season.
And he was right to do so: Kaka was a fundamental part of a team that won the Scudetto and made it to the quarters of the Champions League, as he scored 10 goals in 30 appearances
Over the years Kaka became more and more influential in AC Milan. He was one of the main stars on the 2005 team that reached (but lost) the final of the Champions League, and in 2007 he led Milan to the Champions league title with unforgettable performances in the two semifinal matches against Manchester United and overall consistency throughout the season.
2007 was Kaka’s season. Not only did he win his first (and only) Champions League, but he also won the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Player of the Year award.
2008 and 2009 weren’t so great, but still Kaka was one of the fans’ favorites and was already one of the club’s symbols.
In January Manchester City made a bid for Kaká that would have given over £100 million plus a millionaire contract to the Brazilian star. Milan gave Kaka the ok, but he refused to leave. He said he wanted to stay in Milan forever and captain the team one day. He seemed destined to follow in the footsteps of Paolo Maldini and become an AC Milan eternal legend…
But then it all went wrong…
In June 2009, only a few months after his promise, Kaka was sold to Real Madrid for £70 million, leaving AC Milan fans heartbroken.
Again Kaka had the chance to refuse and stay in Milan, but money spoke louder this time. He finally showed his true colors: He thought he’d have all the fame and fortune in Madrid and abandoned the club he once said he loved and wanted to captain.
Loyalty is rare in today’s football, and Kaka showed that his fans were wrong: He is not special; he is just like the rest.