Playing in his final year with the Orlando City, Brazilian star Ricardo Kaka will forgo signing a new one-year contract with the Lions and will leave the team at the end of the season.
The Brazilian made the announcement on Wednesday during a press conference at Orlando City Stadium.
“As you all know, my contact with Orlando City ends this year, and we’ve been discussing the renewal the last two months. After that, I’ve been thinking a lot, and my decision is not to renew my contract with this club,” Kaka told reporters.
“My first cycle as an Orlando City soccer player is going to finish at the end of this season.”
Here are some key notes and quotes from Wednesday’s presser:
Why is Kaka leaving?
Recent publications from abroad suggested Kaka will be retiring soon after misquoting the Brazilian regarding his future playing soccer.
Kaka clarified those rumors.
“Pain wasn’t and won’t be be the base on my decision,” said Kaka. “As a soccer player, everybody has some sort of pain. We have to sacrifice our bodies for that. My decision to not renew is not on the based on my physical situation. Even for the future, it won’t be for the next step of my career.”
Then why did Kaka decide not to renew?
There were many factors why Kaka chose not to re-sign with the Lions. While family played a factor, the Brazilian said he was offered a one-year contract extension two months ago, but his decision was solely based on wanting to start a new chapter elsewhere.
“Family is very important for me. Leaving the country of my kids [Brazil], it’s something I put on the balance as well,” said Kaka. “I need for my life and my career right now new challenges and new motivations. This is the most important thing for me right now. That is what I based my final decision on.”
So Kaka won’t be wearing purple next season.
When asked whether a return to Brazil or playing somewhere else in Major League Soccer, the Brazilian star did not indicate where his next move was, but re-emphasized he won’t be with Orlando in 2018.
“What’s next for me is just this moment. The only thing that I know right now is I’m not going to be an Orlando City player next season. This is the only certain that I have today.”
With Kaka leaving, that opens up space for a replacement and a lot of money to spend.
But according to Orlando City CEO Alex Leitao, the team will find a replacement.
“We already started looking for the next season,” said Leitao. “We have to regroup with Niki [Budalic] and Jason [Kreis] and discuss the needs for this group. We’ll see the availability, and we will find a replacement. ”
Kaka will play his final game for Orlando City on Sunday when the Lions take on the Columbus Crew at 5 p.m.
He will not travel with the team for its final game of the season against the Philadelphia Union on Oct. 22, according to Orlando Sentinel reporter Alicia DelGallo.
What are your thoughts on Kaka leaving Orlando City? What’s your favorite memory of him in Central Florida?
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(Photo Courtesy of Orlando City)
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