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Brazil’s matchwinner at Wembley: Endrick ante portas

For 30 years, record world champions Brazil have not had a goalscorer as young as Endrick (17) – who showed against England why he was worth so much money to Real Madrid.

Because Brazil against England can also be a friendly match, the Real Madrid players let their friendship run free after the final whistle: England’s Jude Bellingham warmly embraced Brazilians Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo – and Endrick, the 17-year-old match-winner. Half the soccer world is talking about him today.

Endrick is still wearing the club jersey of the traditional Brazilian club Palmeiras (Sao Paulo). However, when he celebrates his 18th birthday in July, he will be heading to the Whites, who secured the next top Brazilian talent back in December 2022 – just two months after his official competitive debut. For around 70 million euros.

At the time, the Spanish record champions, who had already made an early – and successful – investment in Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo (for around €45 million each), were still partly ridiculed for this daring potential transfer. Since Saturday evening at the latest, that should be a thing of the past.

The pure promise of the future has long since been immersed in the present since December 2022. The teenager has now played 66 competitive games for Palmeiras, with the typical Brazilian center forward scoring 18 goals. In the fall of 2023, however, a total of six goals in the last eight match days of an extremely tight championship race. With a successful outcome.

Just like on Saturday evening at Wembley, when left-footed Endrick crowned his third brief appearance for the Brazilian national team with his first goal – the only one of the game. It was a simple tap-in, and seconds before the final whistle he also missed a great chance, but it wasn’t these scenes that made the promise – on such a stage – seem like any amount of reality.

A 17-year-old talks about Bobby Charlton

The self-awareness, the ability to instantly execute well-considered chopping tricks and other feints, the ball control, dynamism and straightforwardness left an impression. And an entry in the soccer history books. Endrick, the Selecao’s youngest goalscorer since Ronaldo in 1994 – a parallel that was not used for the first time on Saturday evening. But for the first time, Europe was able to see it for itself. Endrick ante portas. The “next big thing” is just around the corner.

“He comes off the pitch and talks to the Brazilian media about Bobby Charlton,” South America pundit Tim Vickery reported incredulously on BBC Radio 5 Live. It wasn’t just the failed goal celebration that had something extremely routine about it. Endrick is no longer a young deer; at 17, he has long been standing on thighs that are far too well-trained for that. “If he keeps the attitude he’s shown so far,” Brazil’s new national coach Dorival Junior is certain, “he’ll be an important name in Brazilian and world soccer.”

In the footsteps and alongside his not-so-much-older compatriots, Endrick seems to be in perfect hands at Real Madrid. Where young high-flyers can learn from experienced all-rounders and are carefully introduced to the big stage by coaching luminary Carlo Ancelotti – which Endrick has already entered.

Matchwinner for the record world champions at Wembley, that’s as good as it gets. Except perhaps to play for the first time where he will take the next steps, the next feints, the next goals from the summer. Brazil take on Spain on Tuesday evening. And Endrick will be playing at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for the first time. The setting will not intimidate him

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