First Wembley, then the Bernabeu. Teenager Endrick impresses with Brazil ahead of Madrid move

Wed, Mar 27, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

First Wembley, then the Bernabeu. Teenager Endrick impresses with Brazil ahead of Madrid move

MADRID (AP) - Endrick had the ball in his hands and looked ready to take the late penalty that would give Brazil an equalizer in its friendly against Spain.

It was a chance for his second goal of the match at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

After a few words with Lucas Paqueta, though, the 17-year-old Endrick handed the ball to his teammate, who converted the stoppage-time penalty for a 3-3 draw on Tuesday.

The crowd at the Bernabeu wasn't happy when Endrick stepped back and gave the ball away. Many fans from both Spain and Brazil joined forces and jeered. They wanted to see the newest soccer sensation step up for the big occasion.

It hasn't taken long for fans to start falling in love with Endrick, the latest Brazilian rising star who is off to a great start with Brazil's national team and already has Real Madrid fans excited about seeing him join the Spanish club next season.

Endrick has two goals in two games for Brazil after scoring in Tuesday's friendly at Real Madrid's stadium, only three days after netting the only goal on his national team debut in a 1-0 win against England at Wembley Stadium. That made him the youngest men's player to score an international goal at the famed venue in London.

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"I felt extremely calm," Endrick told Brazilian media after the draw against Spain. "I had only (previously) entered the Bernabeu to take some photos, and today I was here to play. I'm incredibly happy."

Endrick was making only his fourth appearance for Brazil's senior team. The player from Brazilian club Palmeiras was sold to Madrid for more than 40 million euros ($43.3 million) and will arrive at the end of the season after turning 18. But he already looked at home at the Spanish club's stadium.

"Endrick introduced to the Bernabeu in great style," said the sports daily Marca.

Endrick came on as a substitute at halftime and scored from inside the area in the 50th minute to level the game at 2-2 after Spain had taken a 2-0 lead in the "One Skin" international friendly, which was set up to highlight the fight against racism after a series of insults aimed at Madrid forward Vinicius Junior.

"Vini spoke to me about how we need to put Brazil back on top, where it should have never left," Endrick said. "And to do that we need to keep winning matches and championships. We won't be able to win every match, but it won't be because of a lack of determination."

After the game, Endrick ran to embrace his girlfriend and his relatives, and thanked his "family for always being there with me, especially during the difficult times."

Endrick also met with Real Madrid's club president Florentino Perez, along with Vinicius and Rodrygo, the Madrid player who also scored on Tuesday.

"We are waiting for you here," Perez told Endrick.

PRAISING YAMAL

While fans from Brazil and Madrid were excited about Endrick, supporters from Spain and Barcelona were praising Lamine Yamal for his performance in the friendly.

The 16-year-old forward was one of the best players of the match, creating trouble to the Brazil defense from the start with his speed and nifty moves in one-on-one situations.

Yamal, who has already become a regular for Spain's national team despite his age, received a standing ovation from the crowd at the Bernabeu when he was substituted in the second half.

NO VAR

Brazil wasn't happy with the refereeing during Tuesday's friendly and complained about the two penalty kicks awarded to Spain.

Ednaldo Rodrigues, president of the Brazilian soccer federation, said his national team will not play again in matches without a video review system in place.

However, VAR could have also benefitted Spain with a possible red card for Endrick following his foul on Marc Cucurella in the second half. Endrick's tackle from behind on Cucurella angered the Spanish bench and prompted Vinicius to come out in defense of his teammate by the sideline.

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TALES AZZONI Azzoni is a sports reporter based in Madrid in charge of Spain and Portugal for The Associated Press. He has covered multiple World Cups and Olympic Games for the AP, as well as other major sporting events worldwide. twitter mailto "
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