Kaká is one of the greatest players of the 21st century and a former Ballon d’Or winner.
His peak was relatively short-lived in Milan, and his stint at Real Madrid was underwhelming after moving for a massive transfer fee. Despite flirtation with a transfer to Manchester City, the Brazilian never made it to the Premier League.
Regardless, there should be no question that Kaká would have lit up English football just as he did in Italy. Signing the Gama native would have transformed Champions League betting odds for any English team.
Few players in the sport’s history have made it look as easy as Kaká. He would glide by opponents, effortlessly pick apart defences with inch-perfect passes and calmly dispatch the ball past the ‘keeper. It was football as an art form.
While some players of Kaká’s ilk have struggled with the thunderous nature of the Premier League, his quality would have shone through even when hounded by Lee Cattermole or Glenn Whelan.
Standing at 6’1, Kaká paired agility, quickness and generational skill with size. Not only did he have the raw talent to outplay anyone in the Premier League, he also had the frame to cope with the more physically imposing opposition.
He would not have been a betting favourite for the Golden Boot, but in his pomp, Kaká would have been a cut above anyone else almost everyone else in the Premier League.
He was the best player in the world. While the Premier League has often been the strongest, perhaps most entertaining, league on the planet, the elite of the elite have often resided elsewhere.
⏪🏆 2006/07 awards...— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) August 24, 2022
Footballer of the Year: Kaká
Goalkeeper of the Year: Petr Čech
Defender of the Year: Paolo Maldini
Midfielder of the Year: Clarence Seedorf
Forward of the Year: Kaká #UCLdraw | #UCL pic.twitter.com/fq9vOVssQl
Only six times has a Premier League player finished in the top three of Ballon d’Or voting since 2005.
The journey of Kaká’s career (Sao Paulo to Milan, to Madrid, back to Milan and then to MLS) gives an indication of the Premier League’s standing.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Luka Modric are just two examples of players making their name in England before heading to Spain. Eden Hazard, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale trod an identical path.
All starred in England before moving on, and Kaká would have done the same.
The Premier League was a very lucrative stepping stone for the world’s best – Kaká, unlike Hazard, Suarez, Ronaldo and Modric, did not need that foot up to reach the pinnacle of the Spanish giants.
It is a peculiar quirk of the hierarchy of European football that players of his brilliance have rarely played for a prolonged period in Premier League predictions.
There are, of course, all-time greats who came to the Premier League and flopped. Andriy Shevchenko and Juan Sebastian Veron are two such cases.
Some might think Kaká was a candidate to struggle with the intensity of the Premier League, and perhaps he would have done if he arrived after the injuries and decline he experienced with Real Madrid.
If this is about Kaká at his peak in the late-2000s, though, there shouldn’t be much doubt that he could take the Premier League by storm. Any other speculation represents a gross misevaluation of just how great he was for the Rossoneri.