PART TWO: KAKÁ, Or, "He is so perfect that sometimes I have to touch him to make sure he really exists."
dorkorific: oh ricky. sweet ricky.
yeats: sweet yogurt-glazed fair-trade cocoa ricky
The Name: Just like Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite has a very long name...so long, in fact, that it has been shortened to his handy nickname, Kaká. This is what's printed on the back of his jersey, and that's how he's referred to in public. The team, however, calls him Ricky, and we will too! Because we're all about adherence to canon, obviously.
The Life Story: Ricky (aka Kaká) is pretty much the opposite of Cristiano in a lot of ways. He was born to a comfortably middle class, very religious family -- his father was a civil engineer and his mother a teacher.
Child of sweetness and light.
Two preschoolers, both alike in sassypatchfaceness.
He has one younger brother, Rodrigo (aka Digão), who is three years younger and whom Ricky describes as his best friend.
True facts: Ricky basically grew up in a 1950's sitcom.
Digão, as the story goes, is the one responsible for Ricky's famous nickname: as a child, he couldn't pronounce "Ricardo," and the whole family eventually adopted "Kaká" to refer to Ricky. Years later, both boys were going by their nicknames and spent several years playing professional football together in Italy:
(That is a manwich I am okay about being okay about being smooshed by. I mean.)
In contrast to Cristiano, and indeed a great many world-famous footballers of Brazilian origin, Ricky grew up in middle class comfort and was able to pursue both his love of sports and his education. His family sent him to football academies and private schools, but there was also time for trips to the beach and to visit his grandparents at their home with its private pool (more on that later!).
From an interview:
You come from a more or less well-off family. Everyone knows that in Brazil, there are many problems, that there’s a lot of poverty, but you didn’t have that.
It’s different, because in Brazil, the football players normally come from the favelas, they have very few opportunities in terms of schooling, so they want to become football players. I wanted to be a footballer, but I came from a family that… my father always worked, a middle-class family. Later on, my mother stopped working because she was always with me, and my brother, but my father always provided for us. So I have to thank my father because he always provided well for my family, he worked hard, as a man he’s a great example for me. Everything he’s done…
And later on, when I began playing, it was never a problem for me to come from a middle-class family, because I would bring my teammates to my house. They came from all over Brazil, and they spent six or eight months without being able to go home, so during weekends I would take them home with me to spend time with my family. It was a great experience.
Uggggh, I can't.
Is it true that you sometimes forgot and arrived late and had to jump over the walls of the school?
It’s true, because I arrived late…
I can’t imagine it, because you’re a saint!
… my mother asked me, why did you have to jump over the wall to get into the school, and I told her, “everything for football, mom. If I have to study one more year because of this, I’m going to jump over the walls so that I can finish.”
"Kaká was very shy and very reasonable. He was always calm and very quiet. I taught him geography...He was discreet and his marks were always above average. His marks were really high."
Apparently Ricky and Cris were in an early competition for who could have the worst haircuts.
Ricky in the colors of São Paulo Football Club -- he began to play with them at the age of 13 when his family moved to a neighborhood near their stadium, and played with them until transfering to Milan in 2003, at the age of 21.
At this point, Ricky suffered two setbacks early on that he has described as defining moments for him, not only as a player but a person. The first was a hereditary disorder that caused his skeletal system to develop much slower than other boys -- at the age of fourteen, for example, he was the size and developmental stage of a twelve year old.
The second, much more serious problem occurred when he was eighteen, in 2000. Playing in his grandmother's pool with his brother, Ricky went headfirst down a slide and hit his head on the bottom of the pool. He experienced headaches and neck pain over the next few days, culminating in an X-Ray that showed he had broken his neck. Miraculously, he did not suffer any paralysis, and was able to return to playing football in two month's time. Shortly after this event, he was called to play for the first team at São Paulo. Ricky ascribes these two incidents, especially the latter, for instilling him with a deep personal faith in God and Christianity in particular.
Ricky played for the first team at São Paulo for two and a half years, playing in 58 games and scoring 22 goals. During that time, he also made a name for himself appearing in a limited role at the 2002 World Cup, in which the Brazilian national team was victorious.
Blessed by the lord.
blessed with this face.
It's right around here when his hair begins to take on this otherworldly fluffiness and whimsicality that has persisted to this day.
This is the closest thing to an awkward period that Ricky ever had. It's sickening.
The watermark here also acts as a dignity shield to stop me from losing my shit over a 19 year old.
At the age of 21, he was sold to AC Milan, where he spent six years (2003-2009) before his transfer to Madrid.
While he was at Milan, he was known for a) being amazing; b) looking like a sexy puppy; c) having a bromance with Andriy Shevchenko.
Hahhhh nnnn hhhhhhnnnnn were we talking about something???
Mmm, feisty muffin.
From the last game they played together before Sheva left for Chelsea and disappointment. This photo is also notable for showing an early example of Ricky's hugnuzzle skills.
[*sidenote: RICKY ALWAYS HUGS LIKE THIS! He tenderly rests his head on the shoulder of the hug-ee like he's gonna take a nap there:
IT'S THE FUCKING CUTEST IT MAKES ME ILL.]
(There is a ton of fic about the two of them -- a significant deal more than there is for Ricky and Cris, although it was almost all written pre-2009. If you are interested, you can check out the pairing tag here!)
When Ricky transferred to Madrid in 2009, he was the most expensive signing of the summer, and the second-most expensive of all time...
...for about two weeks, before a certain flashy asshole rolled into town.
The rest, as they say, is cuddle puddle history.
The Jesus Thing
One of the first things that people tend to mention about Ricky is his Christian faith. Whereas the stereotype of Cristiano is "tanaholic superficial metrosexual diving preening jerk," the most common impression of Ricky is "sanctimonious Jesus freak killjoy." But just like you have now learned how wrong everyone is about Cris, now you will learn that Ricky is so much more than that!
(Confession: a lot of that "more" is sexy.)
Which is not at all to say that Ricky isn't incredibly devoted to his religion. He is -- from the "I belong to Jesus" shirt that he wore at the Champions League final, to the #tkslord hashtag he uses in his tweets and his abstention from alcohol.
In 2005, Ricky married his girlfriend, Caroline Celico. In an English language interview, he helpfully explained, "We arrived to the marriage a virgin. And we just have a sex after the wedding."
Uggggh, they are like an IRL Virgin Diaries.
they may have arrived a virgin but they SURE AS HELL DIDN'T STAY THAT WAY and now they're really hot with each other it's weird. and awesome.
Many men are watching this show, and many women as well. You’re a reference for all the women, because you’re such a gentleman. People want to know, how did you propose to Carolina?
Was it very special? What was it like?
We had a long distance relationship for two years, she was living in Brazil while I was living in Milan. She would come to Milan every two months, and I went back to Brazil once in a while with the national team, so we saw each other often. One day, she came to Milan. I told her, I have to go to Venice for an event with Adidas, there’s someone from Adidas waiting for me there. And she said, okay, I’ll go with you. So we went to Venice, we took a gondola ride, and then we went to a hotel. There was a terrace at the top, along with a restaurant. Once we were there, I told her that the people from Adidas were running late, so I didn’t know if the event was going to happen or not. So we began eating. Next to the restaurant was a terrace, where you could see all of Venice, including the sea. Then I asked the hotel people to turn on the lights outside, I went out there with the ring, and I proposed.
All women are going to want something like that.
I created a situation where it was impossible for her to say no.
[Ricky would later TOTALLY TROLL about his sexual history on a Brazillian game show (skip to 4:15ish).
Interviewer: [explaining the game] You have to hit the hole. Are you good at hitting the hole? Do you have good aim?
Ricky: I got better after I got married.
RICKY. YOU DIDN’T. BUT HE DID.]
He and Caroline have two children, and even recorded a duet together for her Christian music album. (I'm not going to link you to that, because frankly I can't get over the second-hand embarrassment to go find it on youtube.)
Flawless family. (Except for the singing.)
Yeah, I don't know how to handle this cuteness either.
Ricky participated, albeit slightly, in Brazil's victorious 2002 World Cup campaign, when he was only 20. Note the shirt -- Ricky wore an identical one after winning the Champions League with AC Milan in 2007.
(Blingees not added by me, but I feel they accurately express his sparkle motion.)
Ricky's religious devotion even extends to the type of photo shoot he is willing to do. In honor of the 2010 World Cup, Vanity Fair did a huge photo spread with footballers in boxers with their nation's flags. Ricky was the only player featured who declined to drop trou.
[Certain other assholes were not nearly as modest.
Put those abs away, sir!]
That said, Ricky remains remarkably open-minded and nonjudgmental. He seems to get along really well with all different kinds of players, regardless of their religion or how much they like to bang ladies. The subject came up in an interview in 2008, with regards to the other Ronaldo, who played a year for Milan. Ricky's answer comes at 2:30 in the video below:
"No, anyone can do your choice. I don't say that he---they do a mistake because choose, or -- this type of life or to do that type of things. I chose my worth it, and my type -- my way to live, and this is my choice. That's it. Everyone can choice what is better for you."
Everyone can choice what is better for you.
Everyone can choice what is better for you.
Everyone can choice what is better for you.
The Woobie: Ricky is like, somehow a cross between a DILF and an adorable 6 year old child. His appeal is as inexplicable as it is irresistible -- half of the time you want to squish his cheeks, while the other half of the time...
you want to do other things.
No, it's cool. Come join me in Hell.
Am I turned on or not? Are you a grown ass man or a sexy toddler? WHAT IS HAPPENING??
There was this whole period when Ricky did a lot of fashion modeling, and the results are fantastic.
Soulful puppydog eyes and haaaands.
It's amazing how someone this ripped can seem so slight and frail, thanks to Cristiano Manpanther.
Your editor's filename: rm_kaka-i swallowed my tongue.jpg
I want to write literally every AU about this picture. Every AU that there is.
Apparenty these are the biggest sizes of these photos that the internet can come up with. The internet is fired.
Let's just ignore the disco ball fabric and focus on A) forearm sinews and B) chest.
Even when being a fierce-ass model, though, sometimes photos of him tip from sexy to adorable, thanks to his smile....
Here are about a zillion images of him smiling...
uggggh something good just happened and his whole body lights up.
He has to go do something else but he doesn't want to stop smiling for the camera so he does this weird hopping dance of joy.
Dance the dance of your people, my son.
Uggggh, he didn't even play in this final and yet he is so happy.
Life is good, when you're made of sunshine.
HE ACTUALLY GLOWS.
Just let me expire, in the space between his cheekbones.
He is also kind of a dork!
FAVE! This was when Madrid bought him and he was waiting under the stage to be presented to the crowd, peering out like a little schoolkid. He was so nervous. I'm throwing up rainbows.
t w i n k
LOL OH SHIRT, YOU ARE A JOKER!!!
<--yes this is ricky with his shirt off celebrating a video game victory. it IS amazing.
Remember that time he hit Xavi with a ball and then pretended it was an accident and everyone had to believe him, even affronted Xavi, because no one could believe Saint Kaká would ever do anything so appalling?
TROLLIN 4 JESUS!
“Cristiano sings very well, Marcelo sings very well, I don’t. I just clap along in accompaniment.”
--the nice thing about this quote is how it is both a total lie and something that you know ricky actually means. (cristiano singing in a commercial.)
Catching a basketball game with the wife.... What I love about this photo is that Kaká clearly didn't use his, oh, massive celebrity and international clout to get courtside tickets. He's just hanging out in the stands, wearing a dumb hat.
Very good fashion, Kaká. Very fashion.
It's really shocking how much of a sense of humor he has for utterly ridiculous bullshit.
Boy knows how to swallow his pride to get that advertising cheddar.
Oh my god, it's like he is an actual imp.
From this commercial...
This one time, three of Ricky's teammates loved him so much that they ganged up to tackle him for hugs during practice.
(I say this one time, but I am pretty sure that this is how every day at Madrid practice goes.
Am I wrong, tho?
Who are you hiding from, Ricky?
The Sad Part:
Unlike Cris, who has been kicking ass and setting absurd records ever since he transferred to Madrid, Ricky's time with the club hasn't really been a success. He has suffered from chronic injuries -- basically he played the entire World Cup on one good leg -- and missed most of the 2010-11 season. Madrid is an unforgiving environment for a player, and even when healthy he has seen himself reduced to a supporting role...which is a real shame for someone who was named the world's best player in 2007 and has won every major competition for club and country.
At the moment, it looks increasingly likely that he's on his way out of Madrid, although it is difficult to say. Part of the problem is that a player of his caliber commands a very high salary, and at the moment no one has come forward willing to pay Ricky what he deserves. The rumors have him going to Milan, or Paris, or even New York to play in the MLS, but nothing is set in stone. In the meanwhile, everyone is just holding their breath and waiting to cry into their wine while listening to Adele on repeat.
….Wow, that is way too much of a downer to end this section.
Here's a picture of Ricky holding his kid.
And here's another one where he looks like he's made of rainbows.
actual anime prince
Here he is being a den mother.
dorkorific: Can we talk about ricky DRAGGING benz over to point out his nosebleed to the ref
tyrannicides: jsdknfkjsn i knwo iknow
dorkorific: benz is like nooo it's fine
tyrannicides: karee's like a reluctant child and Ricky's his mom
i love when he looks back once like ARE YOU OKAY BACK THERE?
DON'T WORRY, KAREE. WE'RE ALMOST THERE.
dorkorific: hhahahahha yes
pulling him over to the playground monitor
tyrannicides: he's like, mommmmm, i'm fine, stop embarrassi- ricky's like MY BOY
dorkorific: EXCUSE ME SIR. YOU ARE LETTING THESE CHILDREN PLAY VERY ROUGHLY
That is exactly how I feel for you, Ricky.
ON TO PART THREE: THEY ARE IN LOVE