We've known for awhile that Henrique would be leaving Napoli this month. His first 18 months with the team were more down than up, and once Maurizio Sarri arrived, the defender fell out of favor completely. Now it's official: Henrique has signed with Brazilian Serie A team Fluminense.
Fluminense emerged a few weeks ago as the favorites to sign Henrique, following rumors that bigger teams in Santos, Grêmio, and São Paulo were interested in signing the 29 year old defender. The former Brazil international attracted much attention in his home country despite not having featured once for Napoli this season, and having fallen out of the squad entirely in recent matches, with teenage defender Sebastiano Luperto preferred by Sarri on the bench.
Henrique joined Napoli from another Brazilian side, Palmeiras, in January of 2014 for a fee around €4 million. He was solid if unspectacular in his first half-season in Italy, playing well as a rotational option on a beleaguered back line that had struggled with consistency and injury woes. Normally a central defender, he was a frequent start on the right thanks to Christian Maggio's collapsed lung in the spring, and Henrique did a surprisingly decent job there.
That solid and versatile few months lead Henrique to get a nod for the Brazil World Cup squad -- and then everything fell apart after that. He didn't play a single minute during Brazil's disappointing performance on home soil, and once the season started for Napoli it was clear that Henrique wasn't right. Only given sporadic minutes early in the season, mostly in the Europa League, he struggled almost every time he stepped on the pitch, eventually leading to his already-limited playing time declining even further.
Now, after not playing one second of first team football this season, he's off back home to a Fluminense side that struggled last season, finishing just 13th in Brazil's top division. His new team shipped 49 goals in the league last year, sixth-most in the league and fourth among teams that survived relegation. How he effects that number next season is very much up for debate, but for now we know this: Napoli now have another €2 million or so in their pockets and an open slot on their roster in defense.
Good luck, Henrique. You weren't very good here, but hopefully you find better fortune back home.