The man we talk about today goes by the name of ‘Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite’ … or simply ‘Kaka’ to his mates.
I know it seems crazy to think about, but there was once a time where Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t hold as much of a duopoly over the yearly single player awards as they have done in recent years.
And before Virgil van Dijk and Luka Modric staked their own claims for the top mantlepiece prize, that burden fell upon the broad shoulders of Kaka.
Who shouldered that responsibility pretty darn nicely, it must be said!
A man who wormed his way into a star-studded A.C. Milan lineup, Kaka quickly became one of the most unconventional and dominant attacking playmakers in the world.
Swiftly after taking on the position by the incumbent Rui Costa, and in behind one of the most prolific strikers in history in Andriy Shevchenko (already featured in a piece on Ultra United for his stuttered move to Chelsea soon after this), the Rossonerri were completely unstoppable when they were both on form.
Just before I go on, if anybody knows where I can get a genuine ‘Kaka – 22’ or ‘Shevchenko – 22’ A.C. Milan shirt from this era, then please do DM us, because this thing looks absolutely smashing.
But beyond just purely looking at what they were wearing, the actual men under the shirts made it look even sexier with the football they played.
Shevchenko was a rather simple-minded goal-scorer but Kaka was in a league of his own when it came to reinventing the position. Typically, an advanced playmaker likes to play cute passes through the centre in the hope that a small percentage of their attempts makes it to their intended target.
Or they might even venture into the unknown and get off the back of a move they originally started to showcase their finesse in front of goal. I mean, Kaka had finesse, but he was a lot more … obvious about it.
He was the type of player that dictated the game by taking it by the scruff of the neck to directly implement his ideas on proceedings, and didn’t mean keeping things cute.
In fact, it sometimes meant the opposite – especially when you consider how negative Italian football can be, Kaka developed a way in which he could use his physicality and technical ability to make sure he can do what he wanted – and not what the game made him do.
” His gait, particularly when in possession, was mesmeric. Reasonably unusual in stature for a playmaking midfielder at a little over six feet tall, Kaká could still turn and accelerate past a defender in the same way the smaller, low-centre-of-gravity No. 10s would manage—but that same elegant, long-legged stride made him unstoppable on the run. “Karl Matchett [Bleacher Report]
on Kaka’s style when paving the way at A.C. Milan
And for the 2006-07 season in particular, there was absolutely no way to stop a fully-motioned Kaka when he came into contact with the defence. He could dribble at pace, find a pass when he needed to, and also had the confidence to try the unthinkable to outwit the opponents.
In short, he had absolutely everything and it’s a shame that we didn’t get to see more of it.
As we will come to discuss in some detail in upcoming articles for the site, Kaka earned an illustrious move to Real Madrid shortly after picking up the Ballon D’Or award in 2007, but that’s where things somewhat turned for the Brazilian on the world stage – with changes in system and injury issues pertaining to a drop in form from where we knew he was capable of being.
For now, I don’t want to talk about that, I solely want to focus on Kaka’s dominant form for A.C. Milan during this period, and if this description hasn’t given you enough to work with, then please search for some highlights on YouTube … and then you’ll understand.