Monday, January 19, 2009

Kaka' - A rare athlete

Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite is one of the greatest soccer players in the world.

He is affectionately known as "Kaka" which comes as a nickname from his brother who couldn't pronounce his name when they were children.

Kaka is a committed evangelical Christian in the predominantly Roman Catholic Brazil. I have read in several places that he is a member of the organization Atletas de Cristo ("Athletes of Christ"). His goal celebration consists of him pointing to the sky as a gesture of thanks to God. Kaka's favourite music is gospel, and his favourite book is the Bible. He also works for numerous charities and since November 2004 has served as an Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Program since 2004, the youngest to do so at the time of his appointment, he's only 26 now.

He spends most of his playing time with his club team AC Milan, a powerhouse in the world's most prestigious league (Italian Series A). He has logged 171 games with Milan and has scored over 60 goals, an amazing feat for a midfielder. He is probably the best midfielder alive today.

I note all this because I am amazed by what he just did. Manchester City, an extremely rich team in the English Premier League was willing to pay his club $143 million dollars just to have the right to sign him! This would be double the previous record amount for a transfer fee in professional soccer. Kaka would have then been able to sign the biggest contract in soccer history. What did he do? He refused. In a rare show of team loyalty in this day of players going to the highest bidder, Kaka chose to stay with the team that has made him a star. Kaka said, "All the messages coming my way said to choose with my heart and at the end that's what the choice was. It was absolutely not economical." His heart is with Milan, so he is staying there.

The only one unhappy about his decision might be his pastor. At the age of eighteen, according to one internet source, he suffered a career-threatening and possibly paralysis-inducing spinal fracture as a result of a swimming pool accident, but remarkably made a full recovery. He attributes his recovery to God and has since tithed his income to his church!


Hough said...

His best friend is FC Dallas midfielder, Marcelo Saragosa, the FC Dallas website says of the two...
"Marcelo lived with Kaká and his family...their friendship has remained strong, as each served as each other's best man in their respective weddings...attributes his Christian faith to Kaká, a fellow Christian, who would take Marcelo with him to church while living together as youths."

Frontier Forest said...

Great Story Pastor Tony, thanks for sharing!

Hammons said...

I did'nt know he was a christian- I thought he was Catholic due to Brazil's Catholic beliefs.