Saturday 17 December 2022, 07:45

Kaká: Holding the FIFA World Cup trophy was unforgettable

“The most unforgettable moment was when I got to hold the trophy, look at it and say ‘We did it. We are world champions.’ Really, this is my biggest moment.” We live in uncertain times and in a divided world, rocked by conflicts and global crises. Harnessing the power of football, the FIFA World Cup™ attracts people from all over the globe and brings them together to celebrate as one. Football Unites the World is a global movement that aims to inspire people and bring about unity and development through football.

FIFA’s Legends have shared their stories of how football has united their countries in difficult times. During the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, we asked Kaka to take a trip down memory lane. Kaká was one of the finest players of his generation. He collected a FIFA World Cup winners’ medal at the age of 20 when he was part of the Brazil squad at the 2002 tournament in Japan and Korea Republic. He went on to play at two more FIFA World Cup finals, in 2006 and 2010, and won the UEFA Champions League in 2007. He was also voted FIFA’s World Player of the Year in 2007.

Kaka with the FIFA World Player of the Year trophy in 2007

“It's very difficult to get to play in a FIFA World Cup,” he said. “It's difficult to be a professional footballer; very difficult to play for your country's national team. There are various stages, various levels of challenges and the World Cup is the biggest of them. If you can get to the standard where you can play in a World Cup, it's a great personal and professional conquest.” "I had the privilege of taking part in three (FIFA World Cup tournaments) and that’s very special. The memories and recollections are always very strong.” Kaká had no doubt about the high point – lifting the trophy in 2002, when Brazil won the title for a record fifth time. “I was there, I was taking part. When the game ended, I was on the edge of the pitch ready to come on and play a few minutes. The most unforgettable moment was when I got to hold the trophy, look at it and say ‘We did it. We are world champions.’ Really, this is the biggest moment (of my career).”

Whereas players today may follow the reactions at home on social media, that was not the case in 2002. Kaká said that the impact of Brazil’s win only dawned on him and his teammates when they returned to Brazil. “We didn't really have any real idea of how big this had become, we didn't really know that everyone stopped to watch us play,” he said. “When you talk to your family and friends, you get an idea of what's going on: they tell you that they've been given the day off work, that everyone is watching the game, that school lessons have been cancelled. But then, when we got back to Brazil and saw the multitude of people in the street, we realized just how big the impact was.”