Ricardo Izecson Santos Leite was born in Brasilia on the April, 22nd 1982, but still very young moved to Sao Paolo, in the residential quarter of Morumbi. His story is not the usual one of a very poor boy, with the odd family drama behind him. On the contrary, the family is middle class. His father is a civil engineer and his mother is a teacher. They have not known financial difficulties, indeed as a child Kakà could afford the odd designer outfit and some of the latest video games. Ricardo Kakà is sure of God's favour when in October 2000 he had an accident which could have left him paralysed. He hit his head at the bottom of a swimming pool and broke a vertebra of his neck. Since then, every time he scores a goal, he remembers that moment and lifts his eyes to Heaven because he is convinced that that accident, which happened just before he became a professional footballer, did not happen by chance, but God had a marvellous plan for his life. When he was a child, on his bedroom door there was a sign that read: A happy child has got Jesus in his heart". Nowadays his answering machine says: "Kakà here, at the moment I cannot take your call. Thank you. God bless you. Bye"
Ricardo Kakà is well known for his Christian witness, which comes out in every interview and for his sober and measured behaviour, recognised by the majority as unusual compared to other footballers of that calibre. Shy, reserved, faithful to the Lord: he is the typical good lad, the one who blushes if you pay him a compliment, the one who prefers to stay on the sidelines because the pull of the world does not appeal to him and is not part of his life. He knows good manners, is a good listener and has a great sensitivity towards his fellow team members. He reads the Bible daily.
He says to everyone at every opportunity: "My priority is Jesus, from HIm I have received marvellous gifts: joy, peace, salvation, the assurance of eternal life. From my parents I learned that faith in the Lord is vital in our lives and that it is important to take care of your personal relationship with Him. In 1994 having believed in Jesus I realised that which us Christians call the new birth in the Biblical sense. Since then I want to know God more and more" 39
These are the words that can come only from a heart that has placed its trust in the promises of Jesus the Saviour which can be found in the Bible. In fact, it says: "Now faith makes us sure of what we hope for and gives us proof of what we cannot see" (Hebrews 11:1). When he was playing for Milan, someone wrote: "The joy of Milan has the smile and the fairness of Kakà".
We can say without fear of getting it wrong, that Ricardo Kakà represents that which is clean in today's football...for his physical and moral qualities. A young man who loves God, who despite his young age and success has not become big-headed and who intends to always behave in a way that pleases the Lord. Always correct on the field, he is never involved in violent gestures as often, unfortunately can be seen on the football field. He is one of the few public figures that can be used as an example for our own children, who sadly are bombarded by negative examples that lead them far away from God. Finally he is a young man who has everything (especially who has achieved everything), he spurns fame and success to find every day fellowship with his Creator. "We have a Father who loves us and has a plan for our lives. I am not talking about the God of a fairytale, but of a God who I have experienced, who loves me, who has changed my life and who keeps changing it and transforming it in a real way, every day".
40 It is rare to hear outside of the church environment the words 'Son of God'! Everyone can say of Ricardo Kakà that he is "a son of God". It would be nice if all those who knew you could say that of you too. If everyone, observing your life, could say: "That person belongs to Jesus".
39 Ricardo Kakà, The goal of life, Campus for Christ, 2008
40 Ricardo Kakà, Passion for football, Campus for Christ, 2010