PROFILE | Cruel blow halts Caio Henrique’s rise 

This looked like being Caio Henrique’s year. His performances for AS Monaco were finally recognised with a call-up to the Brazil squad, and just as he began to consolidate his long-awaited break-through, an ACL injury brought a premature end to an encouraging season. 

Henrique’s strengths have always been just as clear as his weaknesses. The Brazilian came through at Atletico Madrid as a No.10, and it often shows. Now functioning at left-wing-back, his upside in the final third is considerable, whilst his dead-ball delivery ranks amongst not only the best in Ligue 1, but in Europe. 

Last season, he registered nine assists, the joint-fifth highest total in Ligue 1. In his first six games of this season, he registered four assists. Despite not featuring since mid-September, only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Florian Sotoca and Ousmane Dembélé have more assists than the Brazil international. 

However, his defensive weaknesses have often been exploited by the opposition, with lapses in concentration and poor positioning all too often leading to goals. Under new manager Adi Hütter, those weaknesses have been masked. 

Henrique in race to feature again before end of season

He had been registering more complete performances, and that has facilitated his breakthrough on the international scene. Henrique had often been questionably overlooked, leading him to consider his international allegiance. The former Atletico Madrid player also possessed a Spanish passport, and he had publicly touted the possibility of representing La Roja. 

However, he finally made his debut in September, making a substitute appearance in a 5-1 win against Bolivia. If that was the high point of his career, two weeks later he experienced one of, if not the biggest, lows. 

Having suffered an ACL injury against OGC Nice, he required surgery. Hütter has said that he will therefore be absent for “six, seven or eight months”, meaning that he may not feature again before the end of the season. 

It is a cruel blow for a player that finally looked to have ironed out some of the weaknesses in his game, or at the very least, that he was now being deployed in a system that masked them. Beyond the personal disappointment, his absence is also a blow to Monaco, whose potential to challenge PSG for the Ligue 1 title has been negatively affected by the injury. However, should Henrique rediscover his pre-ACL form, he will remain a huge asset for Monaco and Brazil going forward. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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