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Class Act: Kaka Wins the 2007 Ballon d'Or Award

Tim YuSenior Analyst IDecember 3, 2007

Icon Sports MediaFor Brazilian and AC Milan midfielder Kaka, things have not always gone smoothly in his career as a footballer.

Before his fame and glory in Europe, Kaka suffered damage to his sixth vertebrae while with his former football club at Sao Paulo. At the time, there were doubts as to whether he would ever play football again.

Fortunately for him, he was able to overcome a potentially career-ending injury on his way to becoming one of the greatest footballers in the world.

Possessing eye-catching, natural ability, he was first spotted and targeted by AC Milan during the summer of 2003. When Kaka left his native Brazil and his club Sao Paulo FC at the young age of 21, AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi referred to his $8.5 million fee as "peanuts."

Lucky for him—those peanuts have brought the Rossoneri unquestioned worldwide success in their respective competitions.

Since Kaka’s arrival to the San Siro, club and individual success has followed him. Now, at the age of 25, Kaka has achieved every individual and club honor a footballer could ask for. Already having won the UEFA Champions League (2006-2007), FIFA World Cup (2006), and the Serie A (2004), he added another accomplishment to his list when he was awarded the Ballon d’Or

Considered by many as the most prestigious individual award in football, the Ballon d’Or is handed out annually by the French magazine France Football to the top "World Footballer of the Year." The balloting gathers 96 football journalists from across the world, and each voter chooses five players from a list of nominees, then awards them their respective points.

Always the class act, Kaka responded gratefully when receiving the award:

I want to thank God, who allowed me to be here today. I thank my wife, my parents and Milan, the team that allowed me to win. I also thank my teammates, both at Milan and Brazil, and all of the fans."

Coming off his recent Champions League success with AC Milan in April, Kaka became only the eighth Milan player to receive the honor. As expected, Kaka came away the decisive winner with 444 points—167 more than Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo.

Following the departure of teammate and 2004 Ballon d’Or winner Andriy Shevchenko, Kaka saw his role at AC Milan evolve over the past year. Considered by many opposing teams as the key to the Rossoneri attack, Kaka’s presence has left them dazed and confused.

While he may not be as flashy and flamboyant as Ronaldinho or Cristiano Ronaldo, Kaka makes up for it with his all-round ability. Considered by many football experts as one of the most complete players in the game, one would be hard-pressed to find a footballer with the natural ability of Kaka.

Passing, technical skills, decision-making, aerial ability, acceleration—Kaka has everything one looks for in a football player.

Congratulations, Kaka. There aren't many candidates as classy and deserving of the award as you are.

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