In yesterday’s introductory press conference, new Orlando City Soccer Club owner Flávio Augusto da Silva mentioned the team planned to market toward the heavy traffic of Brazilian tourists in the Central Florida area. One way the club planned on doing this was by signing the “Brazilian Beckham” by 2015 when the club expects to be in Major League Soccer.
So the speculation begins: Who is this mystery “Brazilian Beckham” Orlando City is intent to sign?
The former World Player of the Year is about to turn 33 years old and currently playing at Atlético Mineiro in Brazil. He will be getting ready to turn 35 at the start of the 2015 Major League Soccer season, and has had a massive drop-off in form since leaving Europe in 2010 for his home country. However, Ronaldinho is clearly the most marketable Brazilian athlete to the United States, leaving an observer to jump right to his name when mentioned in the same sentence as David Beckham. From a marketing standpoint, Ronaldinho is as close as any Brazilian player could come to the English icon.
Kaká is not Ronaldinho when it comes to marketing and highlight video type moves, but he is the next step down. The attacking midfielder has enjoyed a terrific career in Europe playing for the likes of AC Milan and Real Madrid, but at 30 years old, Kaká has slowed down in form and is reaching the end of the point of his career where he could be expected to compete at the highest level day in and day out. The LA Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls have been linked to the Brazilian already but if those two fail to sign him this summer, does Kaká decide to spend one more year in Europe before moving to Orlando at the age of 32?
From an age and playing perspective, Robinho makes the most sense. He will have just turned 31 at the start of the 2015 MLS season and by then will probably be running out of options in Europe. Currently at AC Milan who is going through a bit of a youth transition, Robinho could lose out to a young player within the next year and a half, leaving him open to a return to Brazil or a move to the U.S.
What do you think? Will Orlando City reach for a very old Ronaldinho for a swan song? Does Kaká wait around long enough to allow Orlando City a shot over New York and LA? Or does the less marketable but still effective Robinho make the most sense? Comment and let us know below.