Endrick ready for last hurrah as just a Real Madrid fan



Fri, 31 May 2024 - 01:01 GMT


Fri, 31 May 2024 - 01:01 GMT

 Brazil's Endrick celebrates scoring their first goal with Vinicius Junior and team mates REUTERS/Carl Recine/File Photo

Brazil's Endrick celebrates scoring their first goal with Vinicius Junior and team mates REUTERS/Carl Recine/File Photo

(Reuters) - Brazil's teenage prodigy Endrick broke down in tears as he stepped out to play his last match for his lifelong club Palmeiras on Thursday, with fans serenading him while they held up a giant flag with his image and the words "See you soon".


The 17-year-old forward played 69 minutes in their sold-out Copa Libertadores home group clash with San Lorenzo in Sao Paulo, as the crowd bid farewell to the fan favourite who will join Real Madrid on his 18th birthday in July. Palmeiras had already made the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores.


The game was the first of what should be a couple of emotional matches for Endrick in the next few days.


Real have one game left to play this season - Saturday's Champions League final against Borussia Dortmund at Wembley, which Endrick will watch "as just a fan", before he joins the LaLiga club's squad after this year's Copa America.


"I have been so focused on my farewell game (with Palmeiras) that I didn't even realise it (was Real's last game without me)," Endrick told Reuters on Thursday only a few hours before he faced San Lorenzo.


Endrick does not seem like a teenager, given his studious approach to watching Real Madrid matches. He said it was not a leisure activity as he prepares himself for next season.


"I watch a lot of games, but not always live, because it's not possible due to our schedule. I end up studying the team more than cheering, I often already know the result when I'm watching," Endrick said.


"Watching a game is different for us players who train and travel all the time. We look at other things. Pay attention more to some elements than others. That's why I like to watch without any fuss. And if it's a big and meaningful game that I want to follow live, I do it preferably alone."




With the weekend off before heading to Florida to join Brazil's Copa America camp, Endrick said he will again follow his lonely ritual, probably watching the Champions League final from home with maybe family and girlfriend around.


Endrick's relentless competitive mentality has been focused on Palmeiras, who are approaching mid-season in their schedule, and with the Copa America around the corner, Endrick said he did not even have time to wish his future Real team mates good luck.


"We are all locked on and focused, each one in the big games we have in front of us. But I'm sure we will talk after the final, celebrating another Real Madrid title," Endrick said.


It has been almost 18 months since Real paid over 60 million euros ($65 million) to sign Endrick as a 16-year-old.


Since then he has turned from a prospect into a sensation, leading Palmeiras to a record-extending 12th Brazilian league title and becoming Brazil's youngest international since the great Pele in 1957.


Endrick also in March became the youngest player to score in an international game at Wembley, with his strike giving Brazil a 1-0 victory over England that ended the home side's 21-game unbeaten streak at the national stadium.


The assist for that goal came from his future Real team mate Vinicius Jr, who steps back onto the Wembley pitch two months later as Real's biggest star in their bid for a record-extending 15th Champions League title, their sixth in the last decade.


"Vini is a reference. A star. No one deserves the Ballon D'Or more than him this year and I think our group at the Copa America will be looking not only at winning the title, but also helping him to win this award," Endrick said.


"Real have to win on Saturday. If I had to make a call, I would say Real will make it and I'm rooting for the winning goal to be scored by a Brazilian."




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