Carlos Henrique Raposo, aka Carlos Kaiser, is one of the most well-known Brazilian con artists/soccer players. He is a soccer player that never played. He supposedly played as a striker and has been part of numerous clubs in Brazil. However, there is no single recorded match where he has played.
The soccer con artist is also famous for tricking one of the most dangerous men in Brazil. He conned Castor de Andrade into believing that he is a skilled player. In fact, he made the whole world believe that. In this era of the internet, it might sound absurd. However, in the mid-1980s and 90s, it was made possible by Carlos Kaiser. Kaiser is a nickname he gave himself.
Who is Carlos Kaiser?
Carlos Kaiser is a Brazilian con artist and a former soccer player. He was born on April 2, 1963. His place of birth is reportedly Rio Pardo, Brazil. He was 6ft tall and had a physique of a soccer player. Although his abilities were far short of the professional standard that prevailed at the time in Brazil, the conman managed to sign for numerous teams during a career that spanned more than a decade
Renato Gaúcho, a former Brazilian player, calls Kaiser “the greatest footballer never to have played football.”
What was the trick that helped him fool a whole generation of soccer? Constructing an elaborate web of well-said lies. He made friends with influential people and told them about his impressive soccer CV. He would even approach players, coaches, and club owners and in the end, it was difficult to remember who had vouched for him in the first place.
“Life,” says Kaiser, “is marketing.” He told his stories with infectious conviction. According to The Guardian, Bebeto, the World Cup-winning striker of 1994, says: “His chat was so good that if you let him open his mouth, that would be it. He’d charm you. You couldn’t avoid it. That would be it.” Kaiser, on the other hand, says he had some talent on the field but chose not to use it.
Which teams did Carlos Kaiser sign for?
Kaiser signed for Mexican club Puebla to begin his career, however, he left without playing a single match. Then, the conman went on creating his web of lies and found himself in some of the best clubs in Brazil. He has been a part of Flamengo, Independiente, Bangu, Fluminese, and Vasco da Gama. His stints at these clubs were a maximum of two years. Sometimes, he did not even last a year.
So, how did a striker end up on these teams without really playing? Here’s his trick: In the first training session, he usually suffered a muscle injury. This injury would turn out to be grave and kept him out for an indefinite period. Now, during this time, he would hang around the club, make contacts, keep everyone happy, and become an unofficial morale specialist.
“He created a fun, happy and lighthearted mood,” says Alexandre Torres, former Brazil player and the son of Carlos Alberto. “He would tell stories and he would get players dreaming. I think that’s why everybody liked him so much.”
Kaiser would do anything to avoid playing for any of the clubs. One club even asked a witch doctor to come in to cure his injuries but he sent that doctor packing.
Did Carlos Kaiser ever score a goal?
Believe it or not, Kaiser, the soccer player, who was part of several clubs in his decade-long career, never played or scored a goal. He never seemed to make it even in the rare training sessions he took part in.
In Brazil, a game of piggy in the middle would precede training sessions. “He was completely out of his depth,” Bebeto says. “He would be dashing from one end to the other. Sweating loads! He was knackered before training even started! One day we just said: ‘Get out, Kaiser! Otherwise, we’ll end up killing you!”
A conman became one of Brazil’s most famous footballers despite not playing a single game. Carlos Kaiser managed to hide his lack of ability by faking injuries and regularly switching teams.
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Kaiser would regularly pay youth team players to make nonsensical tackles at him in training. He would also ask fans to sing his name during training when the officials of the clubs are around. He had all the tricks up his sleeve to keep his name on the high even without playing.
How did Carlos Kaiser trick Castor de Andrade?
Kaiser’s most famous and dangerous scam was against the owner of Bangu, Castor de Andrade. Bangu was a small club in the West Zone and Andrade was a dangerous man. He was also great friends with FIFA president João Havelange. According to The Guardian, Andrade once “chased a referee around the pitch, a gun flapping in his back pocket as he attempted to engage the ref in urgent discourse regarding a minor disparity in their interpretation of the laws of the game.”
Castor signed Kaiser, and a newspaper headline said: “BANGU HAS ITS KING”. Kaiser continued his usual antics at Bangu too, however, Andrade loved him. But, he wanted to watch him play at some point. So, Kaiser was informed that he will be a substitute for one of the matches.
Bangu had a dreadful start and Andrade asked the coach to play Kaiser. Kaiser could either play or refuse, in both cases, he was a dead man. So he improvised and started a brawl with the away supporters and got sent off.
Kaiser met Andrade after the game. “God has taken both my parents away but gave me another father who they accused of being a crook,” he sniffed. “So I lost it and went for them. But don’t you worry because my contract is up in a week and I’ll be off.” Castor was so convinced by this story that he gave Kaiser a pay raise and contract extension.
How to watch Carlos Kaiser’s movie?
Kaiser’s story is so astonishing and fascinating that it has been made into a documentary. In 2015, a British company bought exclusive rights to make it. It includes interviews with some of the big names in Brazilian soccer including Carlos Alberto and Zico.
The documentary’s name is “Kaiser! The Greatest Footballer Never to Play Football”. It can be viewed on Amazon Prime Video.
A lot has been shown in the documentary, however, some questions are still unanswered. Kaiser’s net worth is not known. It is also not well known how or if he was ever caught creating this intricate web of lies. It is also not well known what Kaiser does these days, however, according to The Guardian, Kaiser works as a fitness trainer for women.
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