It has been a magical 12 months for Kaka. In the most prolific
phase of his stellar career to date, the AC Milan and Brazil
midfielder has won the UEFA Champions League, the FIFA Club World
Cup and the Ballon d'Or. Yet even though the plaudits and
prizes continue to come his way, the willowy playmaker remains his
usual calm self, refusing to let his steady ascent to footballing
greatness alter his relaxed outlook on life. And on another very
special evening in the life of Kaka,
FIFA.com chatted exclusively to the man himself.
FIFA.com:How do you feel about being a finalist for the FIFA World Player of the Year award?
Kaka: It's a wonderful feeling. To be among the top three players in the world is a dream come true, something that every footballer aspires to, to reach the top like this. It makes me feel extremely happy.
The Ballon d'Or award is voted for by football writers,
whereas the national team captains and coaches decide the winner of
this accolade.Does that make them feel different?
They are very different awards. It's important to win acclaim from the critics and the media, but also from coaches and players too. And this year I've been lucky enough to have the support of both.
What is your opinion of your fellow finalists: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo?
They are two great players with an incredible talent and wonderful futures in front of them. They are very young too. In fact at 25 I'm the oldest of the three. That just shows you that a highly talented new generation is coming through.
You have had an amazing year. What has been the highlight out of all the successes you have had?
I think I'd have to go for the Champions League, which was a milestone in my life, a real high point. It's the most important club championship there is.
You are one of the best players in the world, an inspiration to many. Just what is it that drives Kaka on?
The player who inspired me as a child was always Rai, who played for Sao Paulo and Paris Saint Germain. When I was growing up, he was the star figure in the great Sao Paulo team that won so many titles. Back then Rai was the one I wanted to emulate.
What is your dream for 2008?
My objective is to keep on winning. The Champions League is the biggest trophy there is but the Italian league is a priority too. AC Milan have a great side that should always be looking to win, and this season we're determined to go and lift both titles.
The team are doing just fine on the international scene but are struggling in Serie A. What is the problem?
We're going through a difficult spell in the championship but we still haven't been able to identify the problem. Milan are always there or thereabouts in international tournaments and we're trying hard to turn things around at home. I'm confident we'll sort it out soon and that Milan will be back fighting hard as usual.
You are becoming more of a leader in the Brazil team. How are you coping with that?
Every time I achieve something I feel I'm taking on more and more responsibility for my club and my country. But it's something I've learnt to handle and it's not a problem for me at all.
The FIFA World Cup™ returns to Brazil in 2014. As a Brazilian what expectations do you have?
It's a source of great happiness and I can't wait for it to happen. I don't know if I'll be too old by then but it's something I'm aiming for. It's going to be extremely important for the development of Brazil, though, and a great event for the people. The country's already building up for it and it's going to be a great World Cup.
What have you learned from the mistakes of Germany 2006?
That talent on its own is not enough to win and that you have to prepare well if you want to win important competitions. I think we need to focus more on our preparations.