Behind The Play: Henrique tells why Adelaide move made perfect sense

In the first of a five-part series on A-League stars preparing for the 2016-2017 season, The World Game talks to Henrique about his short-lived stint in Malaysia and why he believes Adelaide United coach Guillermo Amor's game plan will suit him perfectly.


Adelaide United recruit Henrique is looking forward to his debut season with the A-League champions Source: Adelaide United Twitter

Henrique said he came to the conclusion that his move to the Malaysian Premier League "wasn't meant to be" and that he was thriving on his return to Australia with the A-League champions.

The "Slippery Fish", as the 31-year-old Brazilian winger is known, stunned football fans with his switch from Brisbane Roar, where he had won three championships, to MPL club Negeri Sembilan in June.

But after playing just 11 games for the club and requesting a transfer, which was granted, he returned to Australia and signed for the Reds before the end of August.

Adelaide were searching hard for quality players after several key departures from their title-winning team.

Henrique told The World Game that neither the football in Malaysia nor the lifestyle suited him and his family.

He had taken his wife, Edna, their two children, daughter Bruna, four, and son Davi-Lucas, two, and Henrique's mother, Grau, to Malaysia.

"It was a big move and I thought it would be a bit different to what it was," Henrique said.

"I guess it wasn't meant to be, you know. I'd been in Australia for so long and really adapted here, and it wasn't the same over there and it didn't work out how I had hoped."

Asked if it was more to do with the way of life than football, or vice versa, Henrique replied: "It was a bit of both."

"It wasn't one thing in particular that made me really unhappy or anything like that, it was just in general and, like I said, I think it wasn't meant to be for me to be playing my football there.

"Australia, football-wise, is very competitive, everybody works towards something and I really like that and I feel football here is a bit different."

The word out of Henrique's Malaysian club, at the time of his release, was that he not only found it difficult to adapt to the culture, but also to the hectic playing schedule.

An analysis of the schedule revealed that it was extraordinarily busy then, and continues to be, as Negeri Sembilan double up in Premier League and Malaysia Cup matches.

While Henrique was there, the team played on July 12, 15, 19, 22, 25 and 30, and August 2, 5, 9, 12 and 15.

That is an incredible load in anyone's estimation.

But Henrique made no complaints about that to The World Game and said he was simply delighted when there was an opportunity for him to return to the A-League and that he loves the way Adelaide coach, and Barcelona great, Amor wants his team to play.

Henrique has also been an Australian citizen for almost a year now.

"It's great. I feel really happy to be back," he said.

"All of my family are together with me in Adelaide and it's been a really easy move for us.

"I find in Australia that it's not much different between the cities apart from the climate, the temperature, being a bit different, and the people here in Adelaide have been very welcoming to me and my family, so we are all settled.

"It was great that, after playing for so long for Brisbane, when I wanted to come back to Australia I had another very good club that was interested in me, and had a spot for me.

"I didn't think twice about joining the club. The way they play, their style of football, the players they have here, it was an easy decision for me. I think it will work really well for me, and for Adelaide as well.

"To have Guillermo Amor as a coach, he was a great player and he understands exactly what it is like to be out there and he gives us the freedom to play football and know that it's going to be good for the team.

"I guess we have his trust. We follow the structure, but we also have the freedom, which is great."

Henrique, who established himself as a big-match player with several critically-important goals for Brisbane in grand finals, has often been cast as an impact player off the bench in recent seasons, but said it was his aim to be a regular starter at Adelaide.

"No-one likes to be on the bench," he said.

"I'm working hard at every training session, giving 100 per cent, and I expect to be in the starting XI, but it is the coach's decision and I always respect that.

"But, of course, I'm really disappointed when I see my name on the bench."

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5 min read
Published 29 September 2016 at 11:05am
By Greg Prichard