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Il centravanti rossonero in ginocchio al centro del campo dopo la vittoria nella finale di Champions League

Al termine della partita Milan-Liverpool, finale di Champions’ League disputata due settimana fa ad Atene e vinta dalla squadra italiana, ci sono stati anche momenti di spiritualita’….

Al termine della partita le telecamere hanno portato in diretta sui teleschermi di tutto il mondo la sua maglietta “I belong to Jesus”, ma quel che la televisione non ha mostrato e’ la sua preghiera, in mezzo al campo, in mezzo all’esultanza dei compagni e alla desolazione degli avversari.

Kaka’, credente di fede evangelica, e’ noto per la sua testimonianza cristiana, che emerge in ogni intervista e dal suo comportamento sobrio e misurato, riconoscuito da piu’ parti come anomalo rispetto a quello di altri calciatori di alto levello.

At the end of the game between AC Milan and Liverpool, the Champions League final played two weeks ago in Athens and won by the Italian team, there were also moments of spirituality….

At the end of the game the cameras brought directly to TV screens throughout the world the message on his t-shirt, “I belong to Jesus”, but what the cameras did not show was his prayer, in the middle of the field, amidst the celebration of his teammates and the disappointment of his opponents.

Kaka’, a believer in an evangelical faith, is known for his Christian testimony which emerges in every interview, and for his sober and restrained behavior which is somewhat unusual among players at the highest level.

Those four little words will resonate longer and powerfully than 100 books published by militant atheists “proving” the non-existence of God. Ten days after the fact, Italians are still talking about it. To put this in perspective, it is as if Michael Jordan were to have begun preaching the Gospel after winning the NBA title for the third time in 1993, except that in post-Christian Europe, such a statement of faith is even more stark and dramatic.

Kaka’ is not just a European and Italian champion, at 25 he is arguably the best soccer player in the world. Ronaldinho is better known due to his freakish ball skills, Cannavaro won last year’s European Footballer of the Year thanks to his defensive performance in the World Cup, and before Milan’s midfield destroyed Manchester United last month some might have argued for Cristiano Ronaldo, but no one who has seen Kaka’ provide the foundation for the Milanese attack is likely to disagree that Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite merits serious consideration for the title.

I had the privilege of seeing Kaka’ play in a local friendly two years ago. Even with great players like Shevchenko, Pirlo, Seedorf, Maldini, Nesta and Staam on the field, he stood out. At one point, he had the ball just outside the 18-yard box with three defenders between him and the goal; he faked one way, stepped on the ball and spun around to the right to slip between between two defenders while flicking the ball left through the legs of the other defender, then met the ball on the other side of the defenders in time to place a one-touch sidefooted shot past the keeper into the corner of the net. There was an audible gasp from the entire crowd, and then the stadium burst into cheers… even though Milan was the visiting team.

Of the 24 kids on the team I coach, eight of them wear Kaka’ jerseys.

I’m not a fan of public prayer. I think it is often hypocritical and self-glorifying. Even so, I can’t help but muse on the profound difference between LeBron James shouting “King James” and pounding his chest to celebrate himself after a big dunk and Kaka’ rejecting both the public’s adulation and the team’s celebration in favor of dropping to his knees and giving the glory to a higher king.

Forza Milan.