Foreign players attracted to MLS, says Brazilian Kaka

Wed Jul 2, 2014 3:56pm EDT
 
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By Barbara Liston

ORLANDO Fla. (Reuters) - A day after signing for the new Orlando Major League Soccer franchise, former Brazil playmaker Kaka said his belief in the future of the American league clinched a difficult 11th-hour decision to make the move.

“My expectation is that soccer is going to be the first sport in America,” Kaka said on Wednesday, adding that he wanted to help MLS become one of the five biggest leagues in the world and attract more international players.

“In Europe the players speak a lot to come to play in America,” Kaka said. “To other players I think I can show that the American league is a nice place to play.”

Kaka and team owner Flavio Augusto da Silva repeatedly cited as a deciding factor in his move the seriousness of the Orlando City franchise's vision as a global brand capable of attracting international talent to a growing U.S. soccer market.

Orlando City have refused to reveal the salary of Kaka, the 2007 world player of the year award and the team’s first designated player.

MLS allows three high-priced designated players per team for whom only a portion of their salaries are included in the cap.

“Yes, they’re paying me good. I had to say this. But I had another opportunity to earn more than they are paying me here. So my decision is not about money,” Kaka said.

Despite talks with Orlando over the past year, Kaka said he made his decision only recently to leave AC Milan where he spent seven years and had another year remaining on his contract.   Continued...

 
AC Milan's Kaka reacts during the Italian Serie A soccer match against Inter Milan at San Siro stadium in Milan May 4, 2014. REUTERS/Max Rossi