Tuesday, February 12, 2013

12 February 2007 - Kaká Turns Italian

On 12 February 2007, AC Milan and Brazil star Kaká became an Italian citizen. But he continues to play for Brazil.

The midfielder joined Milan in 2003 after two seasons with São Paulo. The Italian side paid €8.5M for him and he immediately started providing dividends for them, scoring a total of 14 goals in 44 appearances across all competitions in his first year there as Milan won both the league and the Supercoppa Italiana and he was named the 2004 Serie A Player of the Year.

He got off to a strong start at the beginning of the  2006-07 season, which would ultimately result in him winning the 2007 Ballon d'Or. In the middle of the season, he applied for Italian citizenship, which was granted and made official in a private ceremony on 12 February.

The move was not intended to alter his international status, as he was already locked into playing for Brazil and ineligible to play for Italy. (He also maintained his Brazilian citizenship). Instead, the move allowed Milan to claim him as a European Union player for UEFA quotas, opening up a spot in the team for a non-EU player. After the ceremony, Kaká said "It is an honor. Now I both Italian and Brazilian. I am very happy. This helps not only me, but also Milan."

He remained with Milan until June 2009, when he moved to Real Madrid, his current club, in a deal worth €68.5M.

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