Kaka is number 42 in 90min's Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time series.


A talisman of Brazil's golden generation of the 2000's, Kaka may fly under the radar as one of the greatest talents to have ever graced both South America, and Europe. Eventually achieving stardom in Italy, the attacking-midfielder offered the world a beautiful blend of power, grace and ruthlessness.


Before the time Kaka had even made the leap to the elite European stage, he was already a World Cup winner. A pretty impressive feat at the young age of 20. While the midfielder's talents were fairly limited at the 2002 tournament in Asia  - playing less than half-an-hour of football - the competition helped open the planet's eyes to the imposing young Brazilian.


Kaka's stellar showings in his homeland with Sao Paulo - which saw him score 23 goals in just 59 games from the centre of midfield - were crucial to his inclusion in the World Cup-winning squad. It was also the platform that enabled the Brazilian to conquer Europe, eventually joining the gargantuan force of AC Milan in 2003 for a very reasonable €8.5m.

It took the midfield maestro no time at all to break into Carlo Ancelotti's starting lineup, comfortably fitting in with some of the world's finest footballers, including the likes of Filippo Inzaghi, Andriy Shevchenko and Andrea Pirlo. His ten Serie A goals helped the Rossoneri to a Scudetto in his debut campaign, and his more advanced role in the 2004/05 season pushed Milan all the way to the infamous ​Champions League final in Istanbul - despite its cruel and ultimately fruitless ending.


Kaka's influence not only on ​Milan, but European football was growing exponentially, and the beginning of the 2005/06 season would prove to be the start of true greatness.


The architect's ability to glide through midfield, and his detailed eye for a pass and goal, made Brazil's golden boy unplayable at his best. Kaka was the the definition of an all-round midfielder with plenty of gusto and guile to match his sensational technical talents, scoring and assisting with undeniable frequency.


The offensive-minded midfielder grabbed 17 goals come the end of the 05/06 Serie A season, as well as being nominated for the Ballon d'Or and FIFA Player of the Year awards. 


Seemingly moving further and further towards the opposition goal, Kaka was often deployed as a second striker or number ten behind the clinical Inzaghi during 2006/07. This would enable the midfielder to avenge Milan's Champions League final defeat two years prior.

On his way to the final, Kaka scored ten goals including a masterful hat-trick against Anderlecht in the group stage, before netting thrice over two semi-final legs against Sir Alex Ferguson's ​Manchester United. A brace at Old Trafford epitomised Kaka's quality, twice powering through the Red Devils' defence, only to finish with ice-cool precision. The final would further showcase the Brazilian's brilliance, with Kaka heavily involved in both Rossoneri goals as Milan beat Liverpool 2-1 to claim a sweet Champions League title. 


The greatest of Kaka's individual accolades followed later in the year. The midfielder won the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year, beating Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi with aplomb.

Kaka continued to hit lofty heights with Milan, and establish himself as one of the best of an incredibly talented generation. Following this success, he earned a well-deserved €67m move to ​Real Madrid, but his impact in Italy would never be forgotten. The midfielder had forged his name in to the history of AC Milan, conquering the San Siro and inspiring a new generation of attacking midfielders.


After securing a move to Spain, injuries reared their ugly head, subsequently stopping Kaka from showing his best in La Liga. After four more muted years with Los Blancos, Kaka became a trailblazer in the MLS for Orlando City, following a brief one-year return to Milan.


Regardless of the latter, and sadly quieter, year of Kaka's career, he remains a midfield pioneer. The Milan legend's dynamic and powerful running, teamed with his goalscoring capabilities, has ensured his place in football's hall of fame. 


90min's 'Top 50 Greatest Footballers of All Time' can be found here


Number 50: Luka Modric

Number 49: John Charles

Number 48: Hugo Sanchez

Number 47: Jairzinho

Number 46: Omar Sivori

Number 45: Paolo Rossi

Number 44: Paul Breitner

Number 43: George Weah