Some have claimed that Orlando City SC attacking midfielder Ricardo Kaka journeyed to America on the decline of his career.
Granted, it’s certainly not his professional soccer pinnacle when he won the Ballon d’Or in 2007, or in 2009, when Real Madrid bought him for the second-highest transfer fee all-time–roughly $70.48 million (€65 million).
Kaka saw his latest stint, a return to Serie A side Milan, flame out in a year, but his performances still presented that skillful creativity that everyone admired years ago.
And, supported by his captain status in Orlando, his experience and leadership capabilities are nearly unparalleled across the league.
[RELATED: Orlando City SC season preview]
The massive hype surrounding Orlando’s opener against David Villa and New York City FC will most definitely put the 32-year-old in the spotlight, and he’s prepared for it.
“I’m very excited and looking forward to playing on Sunday because I have had very special moments in my career and I think Sunday will be one of these,” Kaka told reporters, per Goal.com.
“It’s the first game of the league, so it will be an amazing day for me.”
Kaka will be joined by a host of MLS veterans including former Sporting KC defender Aurilien Collien, a two-time MLS All-Star and strong point in SKC’s back line for several years, and Brek Shea, the ex-FC Dallas man eyeing USMNT action after a unsuccessful spell at Stoke City.
The stage for a great MLS season is set, and even City head coach Adrian Heath is feeding the positivity. Heath is no stranger to soccer over the Atlantic and believes MLS can live up to the greatest expectations.
“It’s no different than being anywhere in Europe,” he said. “That’s the biggest compliment I can pay this place.
“I’ve played all over the world in some of the biggest stadiums and this will be equal to what I’ve witnessed before.”
Orlando will encounter worthy competition in the East, and that’s why all of ProSoccerTalk’s writers, expect me, have chosen against the Heath’s side making the playoffs.