Whether you call him Henrique, Ricky or “the Slippery Fish”, there’s no doubting how important the diminutive Brazilian is to the Brisbane Roar set-up.
Whether you call him Henrique, Ricky or “the Slippery Fish”, there-s no doubting how important the diminutive Brazilian is to the Brisbane Roar set-up.
Always reliable on the big stage, the biggest moment of the 26-year-old-s career came in last year-s Hyundai A-League Grand Final when, after scoring the first goal in the Roar-s 2-2 comeback, the responsibility of slotting home the decisive spot-kick fell on Henrique-s shoulders.
As the 50,168-strong Suncorp Stadium held their breath, he was as clinical as he was precise to hand Brisbane-s the most dramatic of victories and to engrave his name forever in club folklore.
Henrique had stints with clubs in his native Brazil and Holland-s Feyenoord before joining the Roar in 2009 and while his Australian careers has had its blips with minor injuries as well as a broken arm last season, his passion and desire to succeed with his adopted hometown club can never be questioned.
Here, he talks about ‘that- penalty, his friendship with former Roar striker Reinaldo and his plans to become an Australian citizen.
Brisbaneroar.com.au caught up with Henrique to ask your chosen questions from Facebook and Twitter.
1. When you were growing up, which footballer did you look up to and why?
When I was growing up, I looked up to Ronaldo because he started to play in the same team of my city, Cruzeiro and I-m a big supporter of them. At the time, he showed good skills and good finishing. I tried to play the same style as him but it-s difficult! I always liked to watch Ronaldo, Romario, Rivaldo and Zidane.
2. What are the main differences between Brazilian football and Australian football, in your opinion?
In Brazil, we don-t pay much attention to the structure. We play more as individuals but in Australia, we have a lot of structures we have to follow which is good. Here, you can become a better player on the field and that-s the big difference. The way Ange works us here is good - we have to pay attention to the structure but we enjoy the play and we play beautiful football. I try to use my flair, which is typical Brazilian style, on the ball but only when it-s possible.
3. What was going through your mind when you stepped up to take that penalty in last year-s Grand Final?
At the time, I tried to stay as calm as possible because it was the last penalty and I knew that. You have to calm yourself down because it-s up to the goalkeeper to save that penalty. I just stepped up to take it and didn-t think too much about it. I can-t tell you exactly how I pick a place for a penalty but I do have a special way of doing it. I have a special side and I wait for the last moment to see if the goalkeeper moves.
4. Do you prepare your goal celebrations in advance?
Yes, every game, every game. Every goal and every celebration is special for me. We have to think about it because every time we score we have to celebrate. When I go to the camera, sometimes I speak to my wife, sometimes I speak to the fans. Mostly in Brazilian but I did it one time in English, everyone knows that one - I love you Brisbane! When I put the ball under my jersey, it was for my baby who will be born in six weeks from now.
5. This is your fourth year in Australia. Are there any plans for you to become an Australian citizen?
It-s my third year and I will start my paperwork next month so hopefully by the end of this year, I-ll have my citizenship. I love Australia, it-s the place that has taken me like a son and I-m happy that my baby will be born in Australia.
6. Do you still keep in touch with (former Brisbane Roar player)Reinaldo? Did you manage to catch up with him when you were in China playing Beijing Guoan last week?
I knew this question would come up! I keep in touch with him, he-s my best friend. We talk on Skype, MSN and our mobile phones as well. We talk about everything. He looks at me here, I look at him over there and we still give each other advice. We didn-t have much time to speak to him in China but after the game, he came to the hotel and we spoke about the game and he spoke to the other guys as well. We had fun. He-s very happy in China and he likes the lifestyle there so hopefully he stays there as long as possible.