Henrique hit by emotion on eve of date against Roar


Henrique admits he feels emotional as he prepares to return to Suncorp Stadium with his new team, Adelaide United, and play against Brisbane Roar for the first time.

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Roar was at the centre of Henrique’s football universe for eight straight seasons, from 2009 until the end of last season.

He won three A-League championships with the club, scoring a series of critical goals in grand finals, before leaving to join Malaysian club Negeri Sembilan.

That turned out to be a short-lived move that Henrique said in hindsight “wasn’t meant to be”, but now he is back starring in Australia.

Henrique said he had been touched by positive messages from Roar fans leading up to Sunday’s game.

Asked if he was feeling emotional ahead of the match, Henrique told The World Game: “Yes, obviously a little. I was there for eight years and had great success and played in a champion team with good people.

“I’ve still got lots of friends in Brisbane. The fans were always good to me and I had a great relationship with them.

“I’ve received a lot of messages on social media from the supporters to say that I will be welcome when I do go back and that it will be good to see me in Brisbane again.

“Everything I’ve done for the club, they recognise, and I think that’s fantastic, and I still connect with some of the players there and my relationship with all of those players I played with and the supporters will never end.

“It’s just that now I play for a different club and that is how football works sometimes.

“I have a lot of respect for the Roar and the people who support the club. Unfortunately, we are no longer together, but fortunately for me I am at another great club now and I’m sure everyone in Brisbane understands I must do my best for Adelaide.”

Adelaide hosted Roar in a 1-1 draw at Coopers Stadium in round six, but Henrique missed that game through injury.

It would be a shock if there was anything other than a warm reception for him from the fans at Suncorp.

As difficult as it understandably might be for him to contemplate this first clash against Brisbane, he is a professional and the worry for Roar is that he might go back to his old stomping ground and turn it on.

He is in form, having scored two cracking goals from outside the box in Adelaide’s 2-0 win over Wellington Phoenix last weekend.

Henrique is only 31 and he said the recent exploits of Tim Cahill, who has just turned 37, and Brendon Santalab, 34, as attackers in the A-League had reinforced his belief he could go on for quite a while yet.

“I’m sure I’ve got a few more years left,” he said. “There is still a long way to go for me. I haven’t achieved everything that I want to achieve and my aim at the moment is to play every week and repay the faith Adelaide have shown in me.

“You can keep going into your mid-30s if you look after yourself. Tim Cahill and Brendon Santalab are in their mid-30s and still going strong and I’ll try to do that as well.”