Orlando City SC took another huge step toward their 2015 MLS expansion debut on Tuesday with the unveiling of Brazilian playmaker Kaka as the club's first Designated Player.
The 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year and 2002 World Cup winner arrived in Orlando to a hero's welcome on Monday night, and was warmly received by club president Phil Rawlins and his staff in a Tuesday morning press conference.
"We not only brought a Brazilian superstar, we brought a world superstar," Rawlins said at the event. "Today we put MLS on notice. We may be franchise No. 21, but we're not here to make up the numbers.
"We're here to win and we're here to play, and what better way to do that than to sign a winner in Kaka."
The long-rumored acquisition provides the Florida club with a timely dose of star power as well as a key midfield cog for head coach Adrian Heath to build his team around.
A longtime Brazilian national teamer, Kaka starred at Sao Paulo FC before making a high-profile move to Italian giants AC Milan in 2003, and also spent time with Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid.
"They said to me that they had this dream to get a team and build an amazing team in America," Kaka said of his discussions with Orlando City's owners. "So from 2012 until now we have been speaking a lot, flirting a lot until today that we signed this final contract and I'm so happy for that. It's a dream come true.
"I've been speaking with other teams two years ago. I had the opportunities to go to New York," Kaka revealed. "In the end I think God had another special thing for me in Orlando. And so I'm happy because for me it's a very nice project. We can build a lot of good things here in Orlando and also because Flavio is Brazilian, for the Brazilian people it's nice to have this focus now on America and American football."