THIS STORY WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON MLSSOCCER.COM | By Charles Boehm, Contributor
Orlando City SC’s brightest star called time on his stint with the club on Wednesday, as Kaká announced that he won't return to the Lions after three years with the team.
Kaka: At other clubs I was a player...here I was a friend. It's sad that it's finishing, but it's time.— Alicia Rose DelGallo (@OSAliciaD) October 11, 2017
Orlando’s first showcase signing of their MLS era, Kaká became the face of the club as they captured the hearts of many across central Florida and moved into their soccer-specific downtown stadium earlier this year. His contract will expire at the end of the season. According to FourFourTwo's Paul Tenorio, he chose not to sign a one-year offer to return to Orlando.
Kaka opted not to sign 1-year contract offer. Was significant decrease. Will be interested to see how much budget OCSC has for that DP spot.— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) October 11, 2017
The 35-year-old concludes his three-year run in Major League Soccer with 24 goals and 22 assists in 74 league matches. But injuries affected his form and playing time with increasing regularity with the passing of time, and he has six goals and five assists in just 22 regular season appearances this year.
The Brazilian World Cup winner and former FIFA World Player of the Year has shined on the planet’s biggest stages, helping his country win the 2002 World Cup and 2005 and 2009 Confederations Cups. He also starred for two of the biggest clubs in the world, AC Milan and Real Madrid, winning the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup and multiple domestic league and cup titles in addition to countless individual honors.
He'll play his final home game with Orlando on Sunday, when the Black & Gold travel to the Sunshine State to face Orlando City SC for one of their final meetings in the 2017 regular season this Sunday with a special 5 p.m. ET kickoff.