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Brazil legend Kaka hangs up his boots

Kaka is a World Cup winner. Credit: PA

Former Brazil, AC Milan and Real Madrid playmaker Kaka has retired from football.

The 35-year-old was a free agent after leaving MLS outfit Orlando City in October and, despite reported interest from his former clubs Milan and Sao Paulo, he has decided to hang up his boots.

In a tweet posted on Sunday the Champions League winner wrote: "It was much more than I could ever imagined. Thank you! I'm now ready for the next journey."

Kaka was 21 when Serie A giants Milan brought him to Italy from Sao Paulo and in seven seasons with the Rossoneri he scored 95 goals across all competitions, conquering Europe in 2007.

He joined Real for 67 million euros in 2009 but a series of injuries badly affected his years at the Bernabeu and he returned to Milan on a free transfer ahead of the 2013-14 season.

A brief stint back with Sao Paulo preceded three MLS campaigns with Orlando, for whom he enjoyed individual success despite limited results for the Florida franchise.

Kaka won 92 caps for Brazil, scoring 29 goals and featuring at three World Cups, forming part of the squad that lifted the trophy in 2002.

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Sunderland's Watmore receives letter from Real Madrid

Watmore suffered another serious knee injury this year. Credit: PA

Sunderland striker Duncan Watmore has received a letter of support as he fights his way back from a second serious knee injury - from Real Madrid.

The 23-year-old is facing another lengthy spell on the sidelines with cruciate ligament damage just weeks after returning from 10 months out with a similar problem.

However, he has been boosted as he sets out on the long haul back to fitness by the best wishes of the Spanish aristocrats in a letter signed by the club's director of institutional relations, Emilio Butragueno.

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It said: "Dear Duncan, On behalf of our president, Florentino Perez, and those who work for Real Madrid, we would like to wish you a smooth and speedy recovery from your knee injury."

Watmore's father Ian tweeted a picture of the letter, adding: "Duncan went to rehab today to find this letter waiting for him. How classy is that from @realmadrid? I now hope they win the Champions League again!"

The former Altrincham player returned to action against Preston in September having been out since the start of December last year, but his comeback lasted only six games before he suffered a recurrence in the 2-2 Sky Bet Championship draw with Millwall on November 18.

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