Meet former Brazilian striker Carlos Henrique, nicknamed “The Kaiser“. Henrique has quite a respectable footballing CV. Domestic clubs such as Vasco da Gama, Flamengo, Fluminense and Botafogo all feature, not to mention top French side Ajaccio (where goalkeeping talent Guillermo Ochoa now plies his trade), as well as Mexican side Puebla. What makes that all the more impressive is that Henrique was on all of these clubs’ books without ever kicking a ball – even in training.
Before you say anything, yes – Henrique was something of a conman. Certainly in footballing terms – his story is that of a man who, in his own words, “wanted to be a player, without having to play”.
Carlos was well-known within certain footballing circles having listed the likes of Brazilian internationals Romário, Renato Gaucho and Edmundo as his mates. Henrique saw this as an opportunity for his way into a professional club and would ask his peers to include him as a makeweight in potential deals. This would usually earn the Kaiser a trial of around three months at a club.
Henrique had the physique and fitness like a top pro, but couldn’t kick a ball to save his life. So the next part was slightly more dangerous. But he had a crafty plan. The moment the first ball came near him, he’d boot the ball away and collapse in apparant agony. This was at a time before excessive medical assessment and it meant it bought the Kaiser a few months on the physio’s table.
While at Botafogo, he would frequently pretend to “receive calls” from agents and managers around the globe and take the calls within earshot of team-mates and technical staff. The only thing was that he was using a toy phone – not that anyone knew.
On another occasion, while playing for Bangu, the coach called upon Henrique to come on as a sub in a league match against Coritiba. Fearing he’d be exposed, he started a fight with fans and this resulted in him getting sent off before he’d even got on the pitch. He’d do almost anything NOT to touch a ball – and succeeded for years.
These days, the Carlos Henrique works as a fitness instructor in Brazil. But happily tells the tales (some large ones included) about his two decades as a footballer without ever kicking, or being able to kick, a football. But even now he has no regrets over deceiving so many clubs. He once said “If I had been more dedicated, I could have gone further in the game”. God certainly does love a trier.