On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

World’s top soccer player says “I belong to Jesus”

Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite

Ricky Kaká doesn’t care if the whole world knows. In fact, he prays that they do.

“I Belong to Jesus” reads the t-shirt that the former FIFA World Player of the Year and the European Confederations Player of the Year wears under his jersey. As is the custom in soccer, he rips off his jersey when he scores a goal — and there, the whole world sees his testimony.


Born in Brazil, his legal name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, which nobody except Brazilians can begin to pronounce. So, he’s known to the soccer world as Kaká.

He became a Christian at age 12, just about the time that he got serious about soccer — and is a faithful member of the Evangelical Rebirth in Christ church in Brazil.

As a 12-year-old, he remembers, “I learned that it is faith that decides whether something will happen or not.”

After he led Brazil to the 2002 World Cup championship, he removed his jersey and did all the media interviews in his trademark “I belong to Jesus” t-shirt. He openly thanks God on camera — dropping to his knees and triumphantly pointing to heaven at the final whistle of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup victory as well. Playing for Milan, Italy’s soccer squad, he did it again as the refs sounded the whistle in Milan’s 2004 and 2007  triumphs.


His soccer cleats are embroidered “I belong to Jesus.” During the postmatch celebration following Brazil’s 4–1 win over Argentina in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup, he and several of his teammates yanked off their jerseys revealing t-shirts that read “Jesus Loves You” in various languages.

How good is he? Madrid paid him $79 million to leave Milan last year and come play for Real Madrid — in English, “the Madrid Royals.” He’s been the Italian league’s Player of the Year twice, Europe’s top scorer of the year twice, and FIFA’s World Player of the Year. Some would argue that he is the world’s best midfielder. Last year, he didn’t score the most goals, but was named the FIFA World Cup Top Assister since as playmaker, he set up the winning goals more than anybody else. Time Magazine named him one of the top 100 Most Influential People in the world.


And he takes his opportunities to influence the world very seriously.

“To those who already have Jesus: you have made the best choice and are in the best team,” he once told a magazine interviewer. “Go ahead. Do not give up. The fight is great, but we can only win being on Jesus’ side.

“To those who have not yet surrendered their lives to Jesus: What are you doing being outside of this team?! Come to learn the Word of God, come to know who God really is.  Stop eating cookies, while God offers us a banquet.”

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Carlos Lenis

    We need more people like him to come out and be manly about GOD and JESUS . Tears in my eyes. All humanity for JESUS.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Amarie R.

    He’s not ashamed to tell the world that Jesus is Lord and Master.
    I like the story, should b more like it. More christians ought to go out and proclaim the gospel to the world and what Jesus can do for us. All we have to have is faith.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment rose

    He is wearing his shirt proud, that yes i belong to Jesus! PRAISE GOD! THE ONLY WAY TO GO GODS WAY! : )

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Monica

    I’m ashamed that I sometimes apologize for being Christian–I am so proud of this player–I’m sure God is too. He is a clear example of what is needed in this world right now- not apologetically but outright and boldly the way he announces it. What is there to apologize for ? Being on the best team is by far better than losing on the rest of the world’s team. I will do my part and announce that I too belong to Jesus.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Danny Powsey Sr

    AMEN! the whole world needs to get saved and trust in the “LORD” then we will live our life fully. I am blessed to also belong to Jesus.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dan Talbot

    This young man is an inspiration and warms my cynnical heart. I have been cynnical about today’s youth, but he reminds me to “fret not over evil-doers”. With a flood of youth like this, and lots of prayer, the world will be in great shape.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Myrtle Dwyer

    I thank God that this young man is not ashamed to identify with Jesus.
    It is my wish that many more persons would be bold enough to testify of God’s goodness.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Bob Hesson

    We Christians are instructed to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to all the world. That is exactly what this young man is doing. May God continue to bless him and others like him that are not embarrassed to spread the Good News.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment TanSan

    Amen and Amen! What a true warrior, a young follower and believer in CHRIST! I am in awe of his faith and I too believe that GOD is the best coach that we can ever have. I too will strive to do my best to spread the word of GOD to all that I encounter in my daily living. GOD bless us all!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment chris

    to be at the top of your profession and still be humble is an outstanding example of christianity.

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