Carlos Henrique: the footballer who lived the dream without ever playing

Adam Brown

Carlos ‘Kaiser’ Henrique lived the dream without ever having the pressure of impressing the fans. 

During the 80s, the Brazilian formed friendships with some of his country’s best players: Renato Gaucho, Ricardo Rocha, Bebeto and Romário. So, when any of these players were signed, they could put in a word to their new employer’s about a potential signing – someone they knew who was ‘worth a punt’.

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In an era of no internet, clubs didn’t have much to rely on – they couldn’t put in a YouTube search to see Henrique’s only videos are garden trickshots and a school’s futsal tournament. The ball was firmly in Kaiser’s half.

Whenever the Brazilian was signed, Henrique would claim that he was lacking in fitness, and would therefore focus on physical training for the first few weeks – of course, that was only a short-term fix. At some point, he was expected to kick a ball. Therefore, during-warm ups Henrique signalled to the coaches that he had pulled or tweaked something. The trouble for the coaching staff was that the lack of technology meant disproving any false injury claims was extremely difficult.

It’s hard to believe that a player could pose as a footballer for so long, and be on the books of clubs at the top level, but  Henrique had managed to sign for teams like Fluminese, Botafogo, Flamengo and Vasco de Gama. Fooling them all, he would sign but never play – but that was always the intention, Henrique didn’t ever want to – he knew once he did, the journey would end.

When Henrique was actually named on the bench as a substitute for Brazilian side, Bangu, he was moments away from being brought on. Instinctively, whilst warming up, the Kaiser climbed the fence and launched verbal attacks on the fans, starting a fight. Consequently, he was sent-off – his plan had worked a treat. He was questioned by Bangu, but he simply told the club that the opposition supporters were calling the president a thief.

I didn’t play, I literally didn’t play. Because I didn’t want to play.

Carlos Henrique recent interview

The forward knew that he would never live up to expectations – he was in there for the experience. The excitement of arriving at a new club, having your medical and collecting your training gear. Being in a footballer’s environment, sharing the excitement of the clubs’ successes.

Carlos Henrique’s most audacious act was when he somehow secured a move to Europe. Touted once again as a “promising Brazilian forward”, fans of current Ligue 2 side Gazelec Ajaccio were excited at the idea of signing the Kaiser. Similarly to the unveiling of a Real Madrid player, football’s biggest poser was invited onto the pitch in view of the fans – it was time to showcase his talent. What could he do? They weren’t going to be happy if they saw him toe-punting the ball wide of the goal. Instead, the Brazilian began to kick all of the balls towards the fans. He could paint it any way he wanted really – whether he was showing he was in-touch with the supporters or giving them the balls as a gift – it was a masterplan.

At least he bagged a goal in his illustrious career. Just the one, though.

Whilst rebellious, you can’t fault the audacity and intelligence of Carlos Henrique. Any football fan would love to do the same; having yourself touted as a promising player, signing for multiple clubs, living the lifestyle without the hard work.

If only Ali Dia shared the Kaiser’s renegade genius.

We highly doubt that Carlos Henrique has made the all-time combined Brazilian and Argentinian XI!

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