Who is Brazilian wonderkid Rodrygo whom Real Madrid have just signed from Santos in a €45m deal and who was reportedly courted by Liverpool? We take a look at the 17-year-old’s achievements and just what it is that persuaded the Merengues to part with such a huge sum for a teenager.
Born Rodrygo Silva de Goes on January 9th, 2001, the São Paulo native joined Santos’ youth academy in 2011 at the age of 10. Initially assigned to the futsal team, his first break came when in March 2017 he was called up to train with the senior squad while the first team was in Peru for a Copa Libertadores tie against Sporting Cristal.
By July 2017, Rodrygo had impressed the club sufficiently to be offered a five-year professional contract and by November had scored his first senior goal for the club, a last-minute winner away to Ponte Preta in the Campeonato Paulista.
Three months later, aged 17 years, two months and six days, Rodrygo became the youngest Brazilian to score in the Copa Libertadores, in a 3-1 win against Uruguayan outfit Nacional in São Paulo, after which, in the post-match press conference, he apologised to his teacher as he had missed school in order to play.
Rodrygo has drawn comparisons with Neymar, with both players having joined Santos aged 11 and both having signed sponsorship deals with Nike, though Rodrygo made history by becoming the youngest ever to do so.
Standing 5ft 8″ tall, Rodrgyo’s main attributes are said to be dribbling and speed, and while small and skinny he is reportedly very difficult to knock off the ball, even when surrounded by defenders.
Rodrygo will remain with Santos until July 2019.