Kaka eyes future in the boardroom after resisting Milan swansong
Kaka turned down the chance to prolong his playing days with a third spell at AC Milan in order to retire from professional football.
The Brazil midfielder, who is the last man to win the Ballon d'Or before Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's decade of dominance, confirmed his decision in a statement released on Sunday.
The 35-year-old called time on his stint with MLS side Orlando City in October and a return to boyhood club Sao Paulo was thought to be the only option on the table when it came to possibly extending a stellar career.
But Kaka told Globo he intends to take on a sporting director role within the game and revealed a proposal from Milan featuring him playing initially before moving upstairs.
"Now I will prepare to continue in football and have another function, but will not be more like a professional player," said the World Cup, Champions League, Serie A and LaLiga winner.
"I would like to join a club as a sports director, someone who stands between the field and the club.
"I prepared a lot to be a professional player and I want to prepare for this new role, I want to see a little outside.
"The fact that I have had success as a professional player does not mean that I will be a good director, so I want to prepare for it from now on; study, monitor, be closer to some clubs, especially one where I played.
"Milan recently made this proposal [to play before becoming a director] so that I had there [an understanding of] the day to day of the club.
"These are things that I will start to prepare myself for."
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) December 17, 2017
Kaka explained he had taken time to watch games in Europe - including Milan's 5-1 Europa League win over Austria Wien last month - since leaving the United States to find out whether the fire still burned in terms of making a return to the playing field.
The famously devout Christian also took time to pray and reflect.
"I needed some time to think and make a very quiet decision, very calm and very conscious of what I would like for my professional life," he said.
"Then I asked some very close people, my parents, my brother, my girlfriend and my brother's wife. I asked for a prayer period.
"I went to Europe to see some games and feel the excitement of the game there, [the place] where football really got to its full potential.
"Very consciously I have come to the conclusion that it is time to end my career as a professional player."