Former FIFA World Player of the Year Kaka has signed with MLS expansion side Orlando City SC.
Kaka, 32, confirmed his departure from AC Milan on Monday and sealed his long-awaited move to Orlando City on Tuesday morning. He will join the club in January after agreeing to spend the next six months on loan at Sao Paulo.
"I have said before that I wanted to play in America. It is a dream come true." – @KAKA
His arrival provides Orlando City with a cornerstone as the club transitions to MLS in 2015. The former UEFA Champions League winner remains a glittering star in world soccer, the sort of figure still capable of attracting significant attention even as he enters the autumn of his career.
The silky skills that carried Kaka to the top of the game should still fit neatly in MLS, though. His technical ability and his vision offer an ideal building block for a side cobbling together its roster for next season. He can serve as the primary conduit and impetus moving forward, the player tasked with unlocking defenses from the outset.
Orlando City chased Kaka for more than a year to fill that role. Orlando City investor/operator Flavio Augusto da Silva leaned on his previously established business relationship with the star to espouse the virtues of a move to MLS, while the club welcomed him to a training session and repeatedly expressed its desire to acquire him if he decided to swap top-flight European soccer for MLS at any point.
"Today is the day we put the @MLS on notice, we're not here to make up the numbers, we're here to win." – Phil Rawlins
It is yet another big signing during a busy summer for MLS as it attempts to take advantage of the busy summer transfer window after the World Cup. Kaka joins David Villa (New York City F.C.) on the list of players already committed to the league for next season, while British reports continue to link England international Frank Lampard with a move to the United States in the near future.