Kaka retires at 35 to pursue manager/directorial role

Former Real Madrid and Milan star Kaka has announced on Sunday that he is retiring from the professional football scene.

Kaka, who was in Brazil’s World Cup-winning squad in 2002, said the time was right to call it a day as he announced his retirement on Twitter, as well as during an interview to Brazilian commentator Galvao Bueno, aired by TV Globo.

“It was much more than I could ever imagined. Thank you!” he tweeted. “I’m now ready for the next journey. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Earlier this year, 35-year-old Kaka had announced that he would not extend his contract with Orlando City but opened the door to a possible return to Milan, the club where he made his name.

“I would like to participate in the club in another way, as a manager, a sporting director, as someone who is between the pitch and the club,” he said in a farewell interview with Globo TV in Brazil. “I prepared very hard to be a professional footballer and I want to prepare for this new role.”

Kaka also added that Milan, with whom he won the Champions League in 2007, had offered him a role but did not specify the exact nature of the job or say if he would accept it.

Both Milan and Kaka’s very first team, Sao Paulo, had offered him contracts in the capacity of a player to extend his career but were turned down.

The Brazilian joined Milan in 2003 and stayed for six years before joining Real Madrid for €65m, the second highest transfer fee ever only behind the €77.5 million fee Real paid for Zinedine Zidane at the time. But after limited success in which he only won one league title and one Copa del Rey in Spain, he returned to Milan in 2013 before joining the new MLS side Orlando City, becoming the highest-paid player in MLS history.

Kaka was the last player apart from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d’Or, winning in 2007 after leading Milan to the Champions League, scoring 10 goals in the process.

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