MLS expansion team Orlando City have signed Brazilian star Kaka, according to a report by ESPN announcer Taylor Twellman. The Florida-based MLS team, who currently play in USL-PRO, will debut Kaka in 2015. The former Real Madrid and AC Milan midfielder will be loaned out to Sao Paulo until he’s ready to train with Orlando in early 2015.
Kaka will be the first designated player to join Orlando City F.C. The club is planning on building a new stadium in downtown Orlando, which is reported to cost around $110 million.
The Brazilian joined AC Milan in 2003 after playing in Sao Paulo since the age of 15. He made record transfer moves in 2007 when he signed with Real Madrid for a fee of €65 million, and was the second highest ever at that time. Ultimately, Kaka struggled in Spain and moved back to AC Milan in the summer of 2013.
Orlando City has been courting Kaka aggressively both publicly and privately since being named an MLS franchise in November 2013. The Brazilian was a World Cup winner in 2002 and a UEFA Champions League winner in 2007 with AC Milan.
Kaka told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera in March that he wanted to play in the United States in the near future.
“One day, I would like to play in America, Let’s see. At the end of the season, I will talk to [general manager Adriano Galliani]. Not just to speak about bonuses and money — money is not the main thing for me now, and I think that is understood. I want to see what his ideas are and what the club’s ideas are. If it turns out I need to move, I will choose the MLS.”
The signing of Kaka gives Major League Soccer one of its most visible faces and will instantly give Orlando City an international brand.