Already labelled the ‘new hope’ by Santos fans, the 17-year-old wonder kid, Rodrygo Silva de Goes, was a highlight of the Santos win over Uruguay’s Nacional, scoring the second goal of the 3-1 win with a sublime solo run in the club’s first win in the Libertadores this year.
Becoming the youngest Brazilian ever to score in the competition, Santos fans are beyond excited about the young striker, who they feel could be the next Robinho, Neymar or (dare to imagine) Pelé to rise into global spotlight from the famous club.
Word has it the teenager apologised to teachers for missing class in order to play in the tie. However, the youngster is unlikely to require falling back on his education to earn a livelihood. Already contracted until July 2022, he has a reported €50 million buyout clause – but Santos fans are hoping they can enjoy his talent a little longer before the European clubs swoop.
It is understood several club giants, including Liverpool, have already expressed strong interest in the player, who is fully expected to beat the Brazilian record for the sale of a player, which is held by Vinícius Júnior, who Real Madrid bought for € 45 million and will move to the Spanish capital from Flamengo after the World Cup.
Citing Neymar as his idol from an early age, many comparisons have been drawn between Rodrygo and Neymar. Both arrived at Santos aged 11, with Nike signing Rodrygo two years earlier than they did Neymar, when they became his sponsor at only 11 years old.
Slight of build, but quick and with tremendous balance and dribbling ability, the forward usually attacks the goal from wide and comparisons with Neymar are fair, particularly the way he isn’t easily intimidated or bullied off the ball.
With 15 of the 23 spots already filled for the 2018 Brazil World Cup squad, this tournament may have come just a little too soon for Rodrygo. However, with performances like this, he may just be an outside bet as a wildcard addition.