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Former Brazil midfielder Kaka announces retirement from football

Kaka won the Champions League and Serie A with AC Milan
Image: Kaka won the Champions League and Serie A with AC Milan

Former Brazil, AC Milan and Real Madrid midfielder Kaka has retired from football at the age of 35.

The 2007 Ballon d'Or winner had been weighing up whether to continue playing at a new club after confirming he would not renew his contract at MLS side Orlando City in October.

Kaka posted a prayer on Twitter to announce his decision to hang up his boots, writing that he is "ready for the next journey".

He also indicated he could continue his post-playing career in football.

"I am preparing to continue in football and to have a different role, but I will no longer be a professional player, an athlete," he told Globo television.

"I would like to take part in a club in a role more like... a manager, a sporting director - someone between the field and the club."

Kaka began his career at Sao Paolo before earning a move to AC Milan where he won the Serie A title and the 2007 Champions League.

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He was close to a move to Manchester City in 2009 but eventually joined Real Madrid for 67m euros in the same summer Cristiano Ronaldo arrived at the Bernabeu, but Kaka failed to have the same impact in La Liga and returned to Milan in 2013 on a free transfer.

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Highlights of the MLS game between Orlando and Columbus, which was Kaka's final game in football

Kaka was offered a new deal to stay at MLS side Orlando City for 2018 and the club's chief executive, Alex Leitao, has previously suggested the Brazilian would be welcomed back at the club in a different role.

Leitao wrote on Twitter: "So my friend, now it's official. What a beautiful career, how many joys, how many people inspired. I wanted to thank you so much for your football, for our 17 years of friendship and for joining me in Orlando.

"I wish you the best in this new phase, always count on me."

Kaka won 92 caps for Brazil, scoring 29 goals and featuring at three World Cups, forming part of the squad that lifted the trophy in 2002.

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