They’re both young, Brazilian and incredibly skilful – but Real Madrid rising star Rodrygo insists both he and team-mate Vinicius Junior don’t compare themselves to each other.
Rodrygo announced himself to the world in his first start for Real Madrid by opening the scoring in the midweek 5-0 victory over Leganes, but it was just one of his inspired moments.
The 18-year-old was explosive, assured on the ball, produced a number of incisive runs and passes from the right of a 4-3-3. Vinicius, meanwhile, didn’t even make the bench after a disappointing start to the season.
However, Rodrygo insists that come what may, the pair will remain each other’s biggest supporters as they rival each other for club and country.
“Competition doesn’t just exist with Vinicius, it exists with all the other attackers. Vini and I are teammates, we’re friends and we don’t even speak about this. He’s helped me quite a bit because he arrived [at Real Madrid] a year before me,” Rodrygo told Esporte Interativo in an exclusive interview.
“This comparison [with Vinicius]… it didn’t exist in Brazil. Not only with him but with other players that came through at Sao Paulo, Corinthians… there are always comparisons, but we never have them [in our head].
“We continue with our friendship and it’ll always be that way. We support one another and it’ll always be this way.”
Only two players this century have scored multiple goals for Real Madrid before turning 19:— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 30, 2019
—Vinicius Jr. 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/iC5LEEiFN9
Rodrygo is barely three months into his first season in Madrid after arriving in a €45 million move from Sao Paulo over the summer.
And while there many model professionals for Rodrygo to take inspiration from at Real, the teenager admits he has been mightily impressed with another of his countrymen’s efforts on and off the pitch.
“I didn’t really know Casemiro that well, but he surprised me. I see how much he works and he’s an inspiration to me, like Sergio Ramos.
“Casemiro is different [because] he’s from my country. Brazilians have a reputation for being lazy and he seems to have changed this. He works a lot. He always tells me that we’re going to the gym. He’s an inspiration to young people.”
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