The New York Red Bulls announced the signing of defender Digão, the younger brother of Real Madrid star Kaka. The 26-year-old will be added to the club’s roster pending receipt of his P-1 Visa and International Transfer Certificate. Per league rules, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Digão has impressed our coaching staff during his trial in the past week and we want to continue evaluating him for the remainder of the season,” said Red Bulls General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler said in a statement. “He has earned a solid amount of experience for a number of European sides and we are glad to add him to our roster.”
At the age of 19 in 2004, Digão (full name: Rodrigo Izecson dos Santos Leite) signed with Italian club A.C. Milan. For two seasons from 2005 through 2007, he was loaned out to fellow Italian side A.C. Rimini, making 23 appearances. Digão returned to Milan for the beginning of the 2007-08 season and made his lone Serie A appearance for the club in March 2008. Since then, the Brazilian defender spent time on loan in Belgium with Standard Liege, in Italy with U.S. Lecce and F.C. Crotone and most recently with Portuguese side F.C. Penafiel in 2010-11, playing in 10 matches. After his stint with Penafiel, his contract with Milan expired.
Before turning professional, Digão spent time as a youth player at Brazilian club Sao Paolo and U.C. Sampdoria of Italy before joining the youth ranks at Milan.
Kaka's agent told the New York Post that his client was interested in playing for New York after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. With his brother joining the club, it will only increase speculation that Kaka could be on his way.