ORLANDO, Fla. – Kaká couldn’t take the field for Orlando City’s 1-1 draw against Columbus last Saturday due to suspension, but the star midfielder still found a way to give his team a bit of a boost during the match.
The Brazilian used his night off to join Orlando fans in The Wall supporters’ section at Orlando City Stadium, getting his first taste of what Lions fans see, hear, sing and feel during home matches.
“I was talking with some people in the club and asked if I could watch from the stand because of my suspension, and they said yes,” he said. “The idea to watch from The Wall came up because I wanted to watch the game in that position, to see and feel what our supporters feel during the game and to understand better what is their situation.”
Orlando’s captain was highly conspicuous during the game, and he admitted the experience blew him away.
“It’s an amazing atmosphere,” he said. “It is very, very good when you are there and you see how they support the team in every moment. Even when we conceded the goal, the supporters continued to sing and support the team, so thank you very much to our supporters for everything they have done for us. Now I really know and feel what it is to support, and to be there cheering for the team.”
The former Real Madrid and AC Milan man has always had a special relationship with Orlando’s fans, and his trip to The Wall cemented it as a rare event in the life of a soccer superstar.
Asked if he had ever done anything like it before, he said, “This was the first time in my career. It was a great experience, and it was an experience I wanted to have here. It is not easy to have an opportunity like that but they opened up the door for me to come in and watch the game together, and it was amazing. So again, thanks to them.”
Now Kaká is firmly fixed on helping the team’s fading playoff hopes as he comes towards the end of his three-year contract with the Lions. He admitted – in Spanish – that he “hoped to stay on in 2018,” but that decision would have to wait.
Instead, he wanted his teammates to rededicate themselves to creating a winning finish to the regular season. Orlando are currently in eighth in the East, five points behind Montreal – who they’ve played one more game than – heading into their home match against Vancouver on Saturday (7:30 pm ET; MLS LIVE in the US | TSN in Canada).
“We have to believe,” he said. “What I am saying to them is that in our first year here we had a series of winning games [to finish the season], and it shows that it’s possible. It means that now, in our third year, the team is more experienced, more mature, and we can absolutely do another series of winning games.
“Now it is time to have a series of personal motivations, to look forward and to win games, so what I am saying to them is to find that motivation, come here every day in training and give something that you haven’t given yet. This is the moment to give that little bit more because it takes just a little bit to win games now, we just need that little extra to create this series of wins.”