Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo have all strutted their stuff at the Bernabeu after being signed for huge transfer fees as president Florentino Perez implements his policy of signing the world’s biggest stars.
Kaka certainly comes into that category, although this humble, devout evangelical Christian possesses none of the arrogance to match his status as one of the world's best.
- Name: Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite
- Nationality: Brazilian
- Date and Place of Birth: April 22, 1982 in Brasilia, Brazil
- Position: Midfielder
- Current Club: Real Madrid (La Liga)
- Previous Clubs: Sao Paulo (2001-2003), AC Milan (2003-2009)
- International Career: 2002 to present
Sao Paulo Start:The player got his nickname "Kaka" because his younger brother Rodrigo could not pronounce the name Ricardo. He called him "Caca" instead, and this soon transformed into "Kaka".
Many Brazilian greats have emerged from a background of poverty, but Kaka's story is not one of rags to riches. Born into a middle-class family, he was blessed with the financial stability to concentrate on school and soccer at the same time.
He began his career with Sao Paulo at the age of 8 and after impressing in the youth ranks, signed a contract at 15. Kaka achieved double figures in the two seasons following his debut at 18, and was soon attracting interest from around the world.
The Milan Move:AC Milan won the race for his signature, signing the player for a fee of US$10.2 million in 2003. Despite his tender age - Kaka was just 19 - he was in the starting line-up within a month. His 10 goals in 30 appearances that season helped the club to their last Serie A title.
Kaka ran riot in the first-half of Milan's 2005 European Cup final against Liverpool in Istanbul, as the Rossoneri went in 3-0 up at the break. But Liverpool mounted one of the most stunning comebacks in soccer history to draw the match 3-3 and take the trophy on penalties.
Kaka and his team-mates were not to be denied two years later as they beat the same team to claim the trophy. In the same year Kaka walked off with the Fifa World Player of the Year award.
Possessed with beautiful balance, a defence-splitting pass and superb close control, Kaka became Serie A's marquee player in his six years at the San Siro. This prompted a world record bid from Manchester City in January 2009, but the player rejected the move. Rumor had it there was only one club he would have left for Milan, and that was Real Madrid.
Joining the Galacticos:Kaka's move to the Bernabeu was confirmed on June 8 2009. It was briefly a world record (around US$94.05 million), until Real trumped themselves with the US$131million signing of Ronaldo a few weeks later.
Kaka quickly faced former club Milan in the Champions League group stages featuring in both matches as Real lost 3-2 at the Bernabeu and drew 1-1 at San Siro.
He has failed to hit the heights at the Bernabeu, injuries and poor form blighting his stay in Madrid.
Brazil Career:Kaka made his senior Brazil debut in January 2002 against Bolivia. He was included in the victorious World Cup squad, but featured for just 25 minutes, with the likes of Ronaldinho and Rivaldo preferred. His other two honours have come in the form of two Confederations Cups in 2005 and 2009.
Kaka has matured into a respected senior squad member, his prime characteristics of strength, skill and pace representative of the current Brazilian style of play.
He did not score at the 2010 World Cup as Brazil succumbed to Holland in the quarter-finals. Although he showed glimpses of his old self, many critics were left to conclude that they had seen the best of Kaka in a Selecao shirt.