Real Madrid‘s new signing Rodrygo has said he models his game on Neymar and Robinho as the 18-year-old on Tuesday became the latest arrival unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Madrid completed a €45-million deal for Rodrygo Silva de Goes in June last year but agreed to let the Brazilian striker stay at Santos for another season.
He is the fifth players to join Madrid this summer, following Eden Hazard, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy and Luka Jovic for a minimum transfer outlay to 300 million euros.
“For me it is a dream come true,” Rodrygo said at a press conference. “I have always said it is the dream of every child in Brazil and the world. I’m living a dream, it’s the happiest day of my life.”
Rodrygo has signed for Madrid’s first team but said he would be happy to play for Castilla, the club’s B side, to gain experience.
After being presented in the stands by club president Florentino Perez, Rodrygo emerged on the pitch at the Santiago Bernabeu, where he kicked balls into a crowd of around 2,000 fans.
“I’m a fast striker, I score and dribble,” he said. “I’m Brazilian and we’re a bit like that, like Robinho and Neymar, I identify a little with them.
“I like to play on the wings, on the left especially, but I have no preference. I’m ready to play.”
Neymar has been linked with a return to Spain, just two years after he joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona for a world record 222 million euros.
Asked if he would like either to play alongside or emulate his compatriot, Rodrygo said: “Neymar is a great player but he’s on another team and I can’t talk about him.
“No, I would like to be the Rodrygo of Madrid. There is only one Neymar, there can’t be another.”
Madrid struggled for goals last season in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus, despite another Brazilian teenager, Vinicius Junior, enjoying an impressive first year in the Spanish capital.
Vinicius began the season playing for Castilla but was promoted by coach Santiago Solari. Rodrygo hopes to follow suit.
“I have spoken to Vincius since I signed and when we met in the national team we talked about the club,” Rodrygo said.
“Madrid always has the best players in the world, I know there will be a lot of competition but I am available to the club to play in the first team or for Castilla.
“The pressure is there at all football clubs but here it is much higher. Vinicius told me about his experience. He told me to be patient. I’m young, I have a big future ahead of me and everything will happen naturally.”
Perez said: “Today marks a momentous time in your career, soon you will wear the white shirt.
“Your growth has been spectacular and you now face the challenge that you have chosen. Here you will succeed with work and humility, the fans will always be on your side but you must know the high demands of our club, it is a hallmark of Real Madrid.”
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New Real Madrid forward Rodrygo hopes to reward the club’s fans and president Florentino Perez for their faith in him after completing his move from Santos.
The 18-year-old was signed last summer for a reported 45million euros (£40m) but spent a further year in Brazil before linking up with his new employers on Tuesday.
At his unveiling, reported on the club’s website, Rodrygo said: “I’m studying Spanish so I’ll try to speak a bit.
“I thank God, first and foremost, for what he’s done for my family and me. Thank you to all of my family and the people who have been with me through everything.
“Thank you, Mr. President, for the faith you’ve shown in my work, and thank you to the Real Madrid fans for your warm welcome.
“I hope I can bring you lots of joy. Hala Madrid!”
Rodrygo scored 17 goals in 80 appearances for Santos and will add to the competition for places in attack alongside the likes of fellow new signing Eden Hazard, Vinicius Junior, Mariano Diaz and Brahim Diaz, with Gareth Bale seemingly set for the exit door.
Perez said: “We will continue to work hard to bring talented players into our squad who dream of hitting the heights in this shirt; special talents who will help us deal with the new age of incredible competition.
“Our strategy is, and has always been, to search for promising young talent. It’s a strategy which we believe in very strongly and which works through bringing in youngsters with extraordinary futures who dream of defining an era.”
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The French World Cup winner rejoined United from Juventus for a then world record £89 million fee three years ago, but has largely failed to live up to expectations.
Pogba has been linked with a move to Real Madrid or a return to Juventus with United having failed to qualify for the Champions League next season.
“There is a lot of talking and a lot of thinking,” the 26-year-old told reporters in Tokyo on Sunday.
“I have been for three years in Manchester and have been doing great – some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody and like everywhere else.
“I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else. I am thinking of this – to have a new challenge somewhere else.”
Check out the video below to see a player profile of Paul Pogba