The Brazilian prodigy that all European top clubs are queuing for
In collaboration with Goal, Voetbalzone regularly highlights young players who can go far in the future or who are already earning their spurs in (inter)national top football. This time the focus is on 15-year-old striker Endrick, who is followed by the likes of Real Madrid , Barcelona , Manchester City and Liverpool after he recently excelled for Palmeiras in the Copinha.
In 2008, 15-year-old Santos striker Neymar appeared on the radar of Brazilian football fans through his performances at the Copinha, one of the most prestigious youth tournaments in the world. The tournament, which includes the best players under the age of 20 from all over Brazil, has been a springboard for countless stars from the Seleção , including Kaká , Gabriel Jesus and Vinícius Júnior. Since Neymar in 2008, there has never been a player who has attracted so much attention at the prestigious youth tournament as the Paris Saint-Germain attacker. That was the case until Endrick asserted himself at the Copinha earlier this month.
Over the course of January, Brazilian football was enchanted by Endrick, who was voted Player of the Tournament by supporters after personally handing Palmeiras the title. Despite being much younger than his team-mates and opponents, the 15-year-old attacker has scored six goals in seven games, including a stunning solo against Real Ariquemes (0-3) in the group stage, a stunning overhead kick from twenty yards in the quarterfinal against Oeste (5-2) and the opening goal in the 4-0 final against Santos.
Although he has been a household name with Palmeiras fans for some time, Endrick is now being talked about all over Brazil and top European clubs are reportedly queuing up to sign the prodigy. He first caught the attention of professional clubs when he played for the Gol de Letra foundation, a charity that combines education and football for children from financially disadvantaged families.
Sao Paulo was the first to show interest in Endrick, but after a two-year probationary period, the club was unable to meet his family’s financial demands to sign him at the age of ten. Santos, too, was enamored with the teenage talent, but declined to make an offer, giving Palmeiras the opportunity to pick him up by offering him and his family a home near their youth complex. In addition, his father was given the opportunity to exercise a position as a field trainer at the club. “Palmeiras opened his doors for us, so we have to thank the club,” Endrick recalled in an interview with Globo Esporte . “They have given me everything, their efforts have been important to me.”
Thanks to his impressive dribbling skills and ridiculous statistics – he has scored more than 170 goals in his five years with Palmeiras – Endrick quickly gained a reputation on the training pitch. Even former Palmeiras players were eager to meet him. One of them was Gabriel Jesus, the last youth product of the club to make the step to a European superpower. “He told me to keep scoring my goals, keep my feet on the ground, show humility and keep making progress,” Endrick told Palmeiras TV about his meeting with Gabriel Jesus in 2019.
Not only is Endrick’s goal production almost unparalleled, what makes it even more remarkable is that he has consistently done so against opponents much older. The teenager made his debut for Palmeiras Under-17 at the age of fourteen, before making the move to the Under-20 a year later. In 2021, he made history by becoming the first player to play with both the Under-15s, Under-17s and Under-20s in the same season. of Palmeiras played the so-called state finals in São Paulo. The Copinha that Endrick won earlier this month was already his eleventh prize in the Palmeiras shirt.
“He is someone to be reckoned with,” João Paulo Sampaio, Palmeiras’ youth academy coordinator, recently told UOL . “He always brings us something, there is no way to stop him.” Someone Endrick really looks up to is Cristiano Ronaldo. The top talent is inspired by his will to win and the ability to carry the entire squad. “To score a goal is something sensational, it is unique. Cristiano Ronaldo is my idol, and he is decisive for the goal. I have to follow his lead,” Endrick explained. “For the games, I imagine Ronaldo (Luis Nazario de Lima, ed.) and Cristiano Ronaldo. I try to follow their lead. If the match is very difficult and it is, for example, 1-1, I ask my teammates to play the ball to me, because I have that urge to score goals. I always want more.”
Endrick doesn’t seem satisfied until he scores goals on the highest podium, but what will the future hold for him? He has already trained with the Palmeiras first team, and there are calls for coach Abel Ferreira to include him in the squad for the Club World Cup, which will take place in the United Arab Emirates in early February. “He’s fifteen years old, he’s a kid,” Ferreira said when asked about Endrick. “I keep an eye on these types of players and give them time. We shouldn’t rush anything, but we shouldn’t show any fear either. Sooner or later he will play in the first team, but at age 15, tickets to Disneyland are the best the club could give him and his family for him and his family.”
Endrick is still expected to earn a place in the first team in 2022, especially if he can sign his first professional contract in July at the age of 16. Sooner or later, however, a deal will be struck and the teenage talent will leave for one of Europe’s top clubs. Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City have all expressed an interest in Endrick, and some sources say he should already cost £45million. “I’m not going to lie, but I sometimes lie in bed at night thinking,” Endrick said when asked about his future. “But then that passes and I think about the present. I try not to think about the future. If I focus on the present, the future will come faster.”
Endrick (2006) at it again for Palmeiras in the Copinha quarter-finals 👀
Just a casual bicycle kick goal from the 15-year-old who continues to be linked with Europe’s elite.#NXGN pic.twitter.com/YQIJ0YWdxY
— Tom Maston (@TomMaston) January 19, 2022