PARIS (AFP) – Former superstar footballer Kaka (pic below) is looking to “inspiration” Paolo Maldini as he begins what the once elegant midfielder hopes is a new journey to the top of the game, but off the pitch.
The 2007 Ballon d’Or winner is aiming to follow in the footsteps of former AC Milan teammate Maldini and others who made the step up to boardroom level at the seven-time European champions, including Zvonimir Boban.
Boban is Milan’s Chief Football Officer while Maldini replaced Kaka’s countryman Leonardo as Technical Director at the Italian giants in June, with Maldini key to bringing Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to the San Siro last month.
“Those two are inspirations for me,” Brazilian Kaka told AFP in an interview.
He added that Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) Sporting Director Leonardo, who was instrumental in taking him to Milan from Sao Paulo in 2003, was offering him advice on how to make the jump from pitch to boardroom.
“I speak with him a lot,” Kaka said of Leonardo. “He is a very good sporting director, and he gives me lots of advice for what I can do after my playing career.”
Kaka was speaking after a session of the UEFA Executive Master for International Players, a course for former professional players who want to move into football administration and management, in Paris.
He took part in the session alongside former Ivory Coast and Chelsea striker Didier Drogba and former Germany international Clemens Fritz.
“It’s the right time for me to work out what I want to do later in my career,” Kaka said.
“I want to return to football one day but it’s still a bit early, this programme gives me the chance to be ready for my next challenge.
“Sporting director or a management position – that’s what I envisage for the future.”
The 37-year-old quit the game in 2017 after a career that also saw him win Serie A and the Champions League with Milan, the La Liga title during a frustrating four years at Real Madrid and the 2002 World Cup with Brazil.
When he announced his retirement he opened the door to a return to Milan, but no offer ever came.
However, Kaka wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to work with Leonardo at PSG as an apprentice, joking that he would “go and ask him” after AFP floated the idea.