As fictional as this story’s title may sound, it’s actually a reality. Con artists exist in nearly all works of life and the world’s greatest sport is no exception. Here’s the story of football’s greatest conman.
His name was Carlos Henrique Rapose, a Brazilian “striker”. Born on April 2, 1963, at a young age Carlos was nicknamed ‘Kaiser’ due to the fact that he bore a close resemblance to Franz Beckenbauer who was also known as ‘Der Kaiser‘. His football career began at youth level in Botafogo, Rio de Janeiro, after which he moved to Flamengo. His performance at Flamengo impressed scouts from the Mexican club, Puebla and he was signed up. The club would release him a few months later in 1979 due to his underperformance, although he never played a single official match at the club.
On his return to Brazil, he began his con career. He wanted to be a professional footballer without having to play football. He facilitated his fraudulent motives by befriending popular players such as Carlos Alberto Torres, Ricardo Rocha, Bebeto Renato Gaúcho and many others in order to be recommended easily whenever the transfer window opened. Once he got a new club, he would sign a short contract and feign being physically unfit for actual games and having a hamstring injury to prevent him from joining other players in the training ground. He had the build of a professional footballer but lacked the minimum skill set required to be one. Kaiser also bought expensive, rare toy phones which he used to feign rejecting transfers from foreign clubs, which was all just a ruse to boost his image. If the club decided to investigate him further, he had a dentist who would diagnose him of focal infection thus he managed to stay away from the game and trained all through his time with the club.
Back in Brazil, he returned to Botafogo where he tried employing his fake injury scam. He was later discovered after trying to use a toy mobile phone to fake a call in English with agents from another club. Unknown to him, the club doctor attending to him was fluent in English. He later left the club for Flamengo and still used the same tactics to stay at the club for a few months.
Kaiser also befriended journalists who helped boost his public image by publishing false reports about his feats. In a newspaper article, it was reported that he played so brilliantly that he was asked to play for the Mexican National team. He also claimed to have played for the Argentine clubs, Talleres de Cordoba and Independiente and won the 1984 Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup. He did this by impersonating Carlos Enrique, an Argentine player who had won both cups.
In 1986, Carlos Kaiser supposedly left the shores of South America for French Division 2 club Gaazelee Ajaccio. The club arranged a training session with fans for his presentation and in order to avoid being exposed, he kept shooting the ball at the crowd while kissing the club’s badge. He returned to Brazil the next year after barely playing for the club. Back in Brazil, journalists still published false articles about his performance in France. One article went as far as depicting him as a top goal scorer at Gaazelee Ajaccio where he allegedly played for eight seasons. His friend, Fabio Fabinho who had played for the club for four seasons debunked the claim. He stated that Kaiser never really played for Ajaccio. He just took photographs of himself in an Ajaccio jersey at a field in Horton and presented the photos as well as a forged player ID as proof of his stay in France.
While in Brazil, he managed to sign up with Banju, another Rio based club. The club’s patron and sponsor Castor de Andrade getting tired of his antics and feigned injuries insisted that he played a game rather than just training. During one match, the team was down by two goals to nothing and Kaiser was told to warm for substitution. Rather than warm up, he attacked a group of supporters who were booing the players and earned himself a red card without even stepping into pitch. After the match, he told an elaborate tale of how he was being abused by the supporters, and the patron believing him, granted him a six month extension.
Kaiser later moved to Fluminense where his fraudulent activities were discovered by a staff. After this, he joined Vasco de Gama where he signed to provide psychological assistance to a teammate battling with alcohol addiction. This signing was mainly due to the fact that he was a non alcoholic and was widely known as a good person.
Carlos Kaiser, as a result of his escapades, earned himself the sovereign title of ‘football’s greatest conman’. A documentary film was also released by a British filming company to tell his legend.



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