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The professional footballer who never played football

Kaiser: a “lengthy (and fictional) CV”

Carlos Henrique Raposo, known as “Kaiser”, was one of the greatest fraudsters in sport, says The Upshot. During the 1970s and 1980s, he enjoyed a 13-year professional football career with teams in France, Mexico and his native Brazil. Yet he never played a single game. His trick was “simple”. He would use his “incredible charm” to befriend influential figures at a club, showing them a “lengthy (and fictional) CV”, while also seducing journalists, players and staff. Before long, no one could remember who had originally vouched for him – and he’d be offered a contract.

Whenever there was a risk of actually having to play football – which he wasn’t very good at – Kaiser would feign an injury. If anyone asked questions, “he had a crooked dentist ready to diagnose him with a mysterious infection”. Other tricks included “bribing youngsters to injure him in training” and paying fans to chant his name. When a manager tried to send him on during a “crunch game”, he went over to the crowd and punched a fan in the face – earning him an instant red card. Confronted after the game by team owner Castor de Andrade, a notorious Rio gangster, Kaiser told him he had lashed out because the fans had been calling Castor a criminal and a drug trafficker. “Castor extended his contract by three months and doubled his pay.”