Orlando City’s home opener will feature World Cup winning talent


Danny Morales / Valencia Voice

Kaká (left) has played in three different FIFA World Cups for Brazil’s National Team.

Brazilian and Spanish superstars Kaká and David Villa have both earned the top prize in international soccer, a World Cup title. The road to their respective World Cup victories however, couldn’t be any more different.

Kaká was only 20 years old when Brazil captured the 2002 World Cup. He played only 25 minutes for Brazil, all of which were in their first round match against Costa Rica.

Villa was in his prime when he took the pitch for Spain in the 2010 World Cup. Regarded as one of the greatest teams in the history of the sport, Villa scored five of Spain’s eight goals throughout the World Cup Finals and was awarded the Silver Shoe, as well as being named to the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team.

This will be only the third time in MLS history that two World Cup champions will square off against each other. The two other occasions were in 2012 and 2013, between the Montreal Impact and the New York Red Bulls. Italy’s Alessandro Nesta (MTL), who was apart of Azzurri’s 2006 championship team took on Thierry Henry (NYR), who led France to the 1998 title during both occasions.

Kaká started in his first World Cup match in 2006 and scored his first and only goal of the tournament in Brazil’s 1–0 victory over Croatia in Brazil’s opener, earning him Man of the Match. However, Kaká and Brazil were unable to keep up the momentum for the remainder of the tournament, as Brazil was eliminated by France in the quarterfinals.

In the 2010 World Cup, during the match against the Ivory Coast, Kaká was sent off with a red card after receiving two yellow cards. Kaka ended the tournament with three assists in total, but failed to score a goal. Brazil would end up losing 2–1 to World Cup eventual runners-up Netherlands in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

To date, Kaka has 29 goals in 89 international appearances for Brazil’s National Team.

Villa made his World Cup debut in Spain’s first match in 2006. Villa scored a goal in a 4–0 win. He also put Spain up 1-0 against France in the Round of 16, although Spain went on to lose the match 3–1. He and Fernando Torres finished as Spain’s top scorers with three goals each.

The aforementioned 2010 Spain World Cup team was one of the most successful teams of all time. Bookended by the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, the success of the team throughout those years, have led many commentators, experts and former players to consider the 2010 and 2012 Spanish team among the best ever.

Villa is the first Spanish player to ever reach 50 international goals and retired from international play after the 2014 World Cup. With 59 goals in 97 matches, he is Spain’s all-time leader, as well as the country’s top scorer in the World Cup with nine goals.

Soccer truly is an international game. World Cup ratings and buzz are through the roof every four years. It has become a treat for American soccer fans to have some of the game’s greats, albeit in the twilight of their careers, be apart of the MLS.

Kaká and Villa will square off in the Citrus Bowl as both Orlando City SC and New York City FC make their MLS debuts on Sunday at 5 p.m.