MADRID – Real Madrid unveiled the latest component of its new squad for the upcoming season, Brazilian forward Rodrygo, at its Santiago Bernabeu stadium on Tuesday.
The Spanish powerhouse enthused its wealthy, besuited members and those fans able to attend the presentation by screening a video featuring some of the young Brazilian’s best on-field moments at his former team Santos and with Brazil’s Youth squads.
“Thank you for the trust you have placed in my work and I hope to give you many joys,” Rodrygo told club dignitaries and the fans.
Then he addressed club President, Florentino Perez, saying, “Thanks boss for the confidence you have shown in me,” going on to add the now usual salute, “Hala Madrid.”
Earlier in the morning, Rodrygo passed the required medical examinations at the Sanitas La Moraleja University hospital and then moved to the Bernabeu, where he signed his contract.
It was officially announced in June that Rodrygo would join the Spanish side in the summer of 2019 on a transfer from Santos FC, as he would have reached the legal age requirement then.
“The dreams and hopes of our fans are our priority. We maintain our work in acquiring young, talented players who dream of succeeding with our jersey to continue building on the legend of Real Madrid,” said Perez after he took to the floor to welcome the 18-year-old rising star.
“The mixture of quality and what it takes to be a Madrid player is what has made this club a legend. Our strategy is based on the search for emerging young talent, the incorporation of young soccer players who want to mark an era in Real Madrid. This player already generates admiration for his game in a country where admiration for football is a way of life. Today we welcome Rodrygo Goes as a new Real Madrid player,” Perez added.
The player’s full name is Rodrygo Santos de Goes, but following the tradition, he will be known just by his first name.
“You come from Brazil, where football is the biggest passion and where many of the greatest players in history have started their careers,” Perez added. “You made your debut as a young kid, you became the youngest Brazilian to score a goal in the Copa Libertadores at just 17 years of age. You come here as one of the emerging stars of Brazilian football. Since that debut, you have scored 17 goals and your growth has been spectacular. Now you face the challenge that you have chosen,” he said, adding, “Welcome to your house, welcome to Real Madrid.”
Asked if he was aware that he might not immediately be chosen for the first team by head coach Zinedine Zidane, Rodrygo said he was entirely at the club’s disposal. “I am available to play in the first team or the youth squad.”
He said that Brazil greats Ronaldo, “the phenomenon” and Roberto Carlos were among former Madrid players he admired. “I was with him a few minutes ago and they are all idols. I saw them on television, they are role models for all the people of Brasil,” he added. “Neymar is a fantastic player but he is in another team and I can’t talk about him.”
When asked which teammate enthused him most, he mentioned a list: “Hazard, Benzema, having the opportunity to play alongside Vinicius again, Marcelo, Casemiro, all of them, to be honest.”
Rodrygo said his agent had told him that his signing for Madrid had been a quick affair, closed in 20 minutes, even though Barcelona was reportedly also out to sign him.
“I think I am prepared for this challenge. In order to be here you must be prepared,” he said. “I have to be prepared at all times, I am young and I must have patience. It is my first year here and I feel I will have lots of joy and happiness here,” he added.