Kaka praises 'amazing, unbelievable' experience in Orlando City opener
Kaka has had to do a lot of explaining to his family and friends around the world since agreeing to join Orlando City in MLS.
From trying to lay out the completely foreign concept of an expansion team to talking through the still jarring notion of leaving a club like Milan to play in the United States, the former world player of the year has heard his share of scepticism.
One game into his Orlando career, though, the midfielder was the one left laughing.
His phone blew up after Orlando's debut match against New York City on Sunday, with people calling and texting not only about Kaka's 91st-minute goal that produced a 1-1 draw, but also the raucous crowd of 62,510 gathered at the Citrus Bowl.
"Brazil had a very good game between Sao Paulo and Corinthians and it just had 14,000 supporters at that game — it's a big game in Brazil," Kaka said with a laugh during a conference call Wednesday.
"And here is 60,000 at our game. So everybody was speaking about that and everybody was asking me about how it was to play here in this atmosphere, and the league. A lot of questions about that. I just said that it's amazing, it's unbelievable."
And so the Brazilian, who turns 33 next month, announced himself on a new stage in some style, but he does not expect to steal the goalscoring limelight every week.
"We are a team," he said. "We expect that everybody can help to score and everybody can help defend."
That part of it, on the field, is what he knows. It will take care of itself. Adjusting to a new and unfamiliar league is something a bit different, but Kaka did not sound like a man with many concerns.
Over the course of a 25-minute call in which the native Portuguese speaker affably fielded about half the questions in English and half in Spanish, Kaka said his initial impression of MLS has been nothing but positive.
"The only thing I can say now is I'm very happy with this choice that I made," he said. "I watched a few games during the weekend — it's competitive, organised, just a few things I can say now. At the end of the year I can tell you much more about the league."
By then, perhaps, the novelty will have worn off a bit — particularly for the Orlando star's loved ones. For now, though, everyone is caught up in the excitement that comes with a fresh start and optimism about what the future holds.
"I received a lot of messages from everywhere, from a lot of friends in Europe, in Brazil, everybody watched the game," Kaka said. "The goal was incredible, last minute in the game, that was incredible. As I said after the game, I probably won't understand what this goal means, really, for a few years."