In the 1980s and 1990s, Brazil was home to some of the most glamorous and skillful players to ever grace the beautiful game.
Names like Zico, Socrates, Romario, and Ronaldo still stir up rose-tinted memories from a time when the South American nation was synonymous with a certain type of footballer; they were cool, calm, collected and played the game with a smile on their faces.
But Brazil wasn’t just home to some of the best footballers to ever walk the planet – they could also lay claim to introducing the world to the greatest footballer to never play the game.
Carlos Henrique Raposo, who known to friends and family more simply as Kaiser, grew up in Rio de Janeiro with one dream: to escape poverty by becoming a professional footballer.
There was just one problem: he wasn’t particularly good.
But rather than let something like that stand in his way, Kaiser decided to construct an
an elaborate alternate reality that enabled him to join some of the most iconic clubs in the world, rubbing shoulders with legends of the game like Selecao World Cup winner Carlos Alberto.
It was sporting fraud on an unprecedented scale and something akin to the Steven Spielberg/Leonardo DiCaprio movie ‘Catch Me If You Can’ with Kaiser living a life beyond his means or innate ability.
Kaiser was immune to embarrassment and afraid of nobody.
He duped superstar players, managers and even the most dangerous gangsters in Brazil to achieve his goal of being a footballer – and to enjoy all the trappings of high society that went with it.
His scams and lies brought him so much notoriety that he was known as the King of Rio.
But it couldn’t last and now, for the first time, his story is set to arrive on the big screen in a new and thoroughly fascinating documentary from Louis Myles.
Using interviews, archive footage and dramatisations of several key scenes, he brings to life a story that has largely gone unnoticed by football fans the world over…until now.
One story, shared by Myles ahead of the film’s release, perfectly showcases the kind of smoke and mirrors that became commonplace as Kaiser attempted to keep his dream alive.
Kaiser’s song story
“Kaiser’s fraud was so big because he actively didn’t want to go on the pitch. Playing football was the exact thing that he didn’t want to do. So he would do anything to avoid being caught – whether that was feigning injuries, extortion or simple lies,” Myles says.
“One of his greatest frauds came when he was playing for a small club called Bangu who played in Rio. Bangu were owned by a man called Castor de Andrade – who also happened to be Brazil’s most famous, and most dangerous crime boss.
“Castor and Kaiser got on famously, but after 6 months of Kaiser failing to even train properly, Castor had had enough. So he ordered the team’s coach, Moises, to call Kaiser up and demand that he play in the next day’s game against Coritiba
“Kaiser was nowhere to be found, but after hours trying to get through to him, Moises eventually found out that he was partying in a nightclub. Moises promised Kaiser that he would only be on the bench, and wouldn’t have to come on, but he couldn’t risk the wrath of the dangerous Dr. Castor.
“And so, turning up after a heavy night’s partying, Kaiser took his place on the bench. Alas, after 8 minutes, Coritiba were two-nil up. So, Castor got on his walkie-talkie to Moises and demanded that Kaiser was sent on to the pitch.
“Kaiser went to warm up. Sweating and anxious, he was full with worry that his scam would finally be uncovered. He was a terrible footballer, and if De Andrade actually knew this, he would be in trouble. People had been shot for less, quite literally.
“And then Kaiser overheard the Bangu fans giving him dogs abuse – he was a let down to the team after all. So, Kaiser scaled the fence and started punching the ringleader of the fans. It was soon a pile on, and a mini-riot began.
“Once it had broken up, the referee obviously couldn’t stand for such violence, so he sent Kaiser off the pitch. Kaiser, now waiting in the dressing room, was even more worried. Ok, he had avoided not showing his skills, but he still would have Dr Castor to deal with.
“The players of the team came in, ‘You’re a dead man Kaiser’. And so did Dr. Castor and his heavies, furious, clasping their pistols. But before the crime boss could speak, Kaiser got in first.
“‘Doctor, before you say something. I want to say my piece. God took away my mother and my father, and then he gave me you. Since I’ve been here you have been like a second father to me. And I couldn’t take what those fans were saying about you. They were calling you a crook, a villain, and a drug trafficker. I had to defend your honour doctor. My contract is up in 2 weeks, and I will be off’.
“Castor waited, looked Kaiser in the eye… and started laughing… ‘Kaiser, you’re my friend… Extend his contract and double his pay’.”
An incredible football odyssey some 26 years in the making, Kaiser enjoyed all the trapping of a professional footballer’s lifestyle without any of the hardship on the pitch.
A cult hero in his native Rio de Janeiro, his sensational portfolio of absurd and ingenious scams will be brought to life in Myles new film, which hits cinemas this July.
For more info and for booking tickets head to http://kaiserthefilm.co.uk/
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.