Kaka, who played most of his career at AC Milan and Real Madrid, revealed his decision in an interview with the Brazilian O Globo channel.
The attacking midfielder won the Italian Serie A with Milan and the 2007 Champions League and collected league and cup titles with Real. He also won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, who he was capped for 92 times from 2002 to 2016, and the Ballon d'Or as best player in the world in 2007.
He was the last player to win the award before Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo began their decade-long duopoly at the top of the game.
Kaka most recently played for Orlando City in Major League Soccer and in October said this third season would be his last with the team, though he left his future open.
On Monday (NZ time) he took to Twitter to post his goodbye to the game.
"Father, It was much more than I could ever imagined. Thank you! I'm now ready for the next journey," he posted on Twitter, alongside a picture of himself in a T-shirt labelled 'I belong to Jesus'.
Photo by: KIM KLEMENT/GETTY IMAGES. Caption: Brazilian great Kaka, now playing at Orlando City SC has announced he's retiring from the sport.