The team will announce the move on Monday when the superstar arrives in the States, before being formally presented at a press conference the next morning, as well as to fans at the club’s official World Cup watch party for the USA’s last 16 clash with Belgium later that day.
Signing as the club’s first-ever Designated Player, Kaka will be loaned out for the next six months to his home side Sao Paulo FC, who were reportedly also courting the former Ballon d’Or-winner’s signature, before returning to Orlando in January for preseason training.
Currently playing in the US third-tier, the Florida-based outfit will join MLS for the 2015 season, after being announced as the league’s 21st franchise last November, and are in the midst of building their roster for their debut campaign.
Rumours of Kaká joining Orlando for their inaugural top-flight season have long been circulating, with the 32-year-old good friends with the club’s majority owner, Brazilian entrepreneur and multimillionaire Flavio Augusto da Silva.
Da Silva’s advisor is also Alexandre Leitao, the president of sports marketing group Octagon Brazil, who represent the player, and the Selecao international even trained with the team during the last two summers in the US, with talks of meetings between the two sides rife over the past few months.
Having seemingly been on the decline since moving to Real Madrid from Milan in June 2009 for €65 million, Kaka has enjoyed a bounce back 2013-14 season upon his return to the Italian powerhouse, scoring nine times in 37 appearances, while also netting his 100th career goal for i Rossoneri in the process.
A veteran of three World Cup campaigns, including the 2002 triumph in South Korea and Japan, there were strong calls for the attacking midfielder to be brought back into the setup for this summer’s tournament, after being frozen out in recent years, but the experience of 87 caps and 29 goals was ultimately not enough to persuade his former manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.
If reports out of Italy are to be believed, Kaka may not be the only Brazilian international joining Orlando either, with fellow Milan playmaker Robinho also linked with a move to the club, fulfilling ownership’s ambition to target the city’s sizeable Brazilian expat population.
Both signings would clearly be a huge coup not only for the expansion team but also for MLS as a whole, helping to further boost the league’s profile in a year in which Manchester City-owned New York City FC are also joining, with Spain star David Villa already signed up.