This is taken from the GFFN 100, our leading 150-page FREE publication ranking the best 100 players in France, see the full list and read every profile right here.
Why Caio Henrique started December 2022 at Monaco’s mid-season training camp in Benidorm, rather than at the World Cup in Qatar with Brazil is a mystery. The overlooked left-back has been a revelation both this season and last, and is arguably Les Monégasques’ most consistent source of creativity.
Henrique was initially trained as a number 10, and was even briefly tested in the position in the infancy of Philippe Clement’s reign as manager. Despite moving back to his now more accustomed left-back role, his offensive output hasn’t suffered. The Brazilian registered eight Ligue 1 assists last season. This term, he already has five. For context, only Lionel Messi (10) and Neymar (9) have more in this campaign.
His attacking abilities speak for themselves, and manifest in a set of statistics that rank him amongst the most elite creators in Ligue 1. As a converted defender, it is his defensive nous that is most often called into question, and what omits him from being considered amongst the most elite in his position.
However, this is a side of his game that has strengthened this past calendar year. His general positioning has improved, and he is more switched on in and around his own box, making him a key player at both ends of the pitch. His game still isn’t complete, there are some jagged edges to smooth over, but his progress this year is clear for everyone to see – save for Brazil coach Tite.
The Monaco left-back’s absence from Brazil’s World Cup squad feels like a glaring omission, especially considering the quality of those that were chosen over him. Brazil’s loss may be Spain’s gain, with Henrique alluding to the possibility of featuring for La Roja in the future. As a defender whose attacking output ranks him amongst the Ligue 1 elite, he will be an invaluable asset wherever he plays.
Luke Entwistle | GFFN