Home » Endrick: Who is Brazil’s latest football prodigy?

Endrick: Who is Brazil’s latest football prodigy?

Under the famous Wembley arch on Saturday night, a new Brazilian prodigy announced himself to the world.

Aged just 17 years and 246 days, Endrick was summoned from the substitute’s bench by Brazil manager Dorival Junior as he looked to break the deadlock with England.

Just nine minutes later, the teenage striker scored the winner, becoming in the process the youngest male goalscorer for club or country at Wembley.

He also joined a prestigious list of Brazilian superstars to score an international goal in their teens – following in the footsteps of Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Neymar.

Endrick celebrates after scoring against England at Wembley. Pic: Reuters

Many who follow football will probably have already heard of Endrick.

He is the latest wonderkid to join Real Madrid, with the Spanish giants beating a host of top clubs, most notably Chelsea, to the highly sought-after teenager’s signature.

Though the final fee has not been disclosed, Madrid is reported to have paid €35m (£30m) upfront to Brazilian side Palmeiras for Endrick, with a further €25m (£21.5m) in performance-based add-ons.

At the time the deal was struck, he was just 16.

However, because of rules which prohibit the transfer of international players to European clubs before their 18th birthday, he will not join the Spanish side until July.

Poor upbringing

Endrick’s goal against England will further whet the appetite of Madrid fans.

They have been waiting nearly two years to see what their latest prodigy can do on the hallowed turf of the Santiago Bernabeu – a stadium graced by many a “Galactico” (superstar) over the years.

But the glamour of playing for perhaps the world’s biggest football club is a far cry from Endrick’s poor upbringing in Taguatinga, near the capital Brasilia.

Soccer Football - Brasileiro Championship - Cruzeiro v Palmeiras - Estadio Mineirao, Belo Horizonte, Brazil - December 6, 2023 Palmeiras' Endrick celebrates winning the Brasileiro Championship REUTERS/Cris Mattos
Endrick celebrates after winning the Brasileiro Championship with Palmeiras last year. Pic: Reuters

Soccer Football - Brasileiro Championship - Palmeiras v America Mineiro - Allianz Parque, Sao Paulo, Brazil - November 9, 2022 Palmeiras' Endrick celebrates with the trophy after winning the Brasileiro Championship REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli
Trophy-winning Endrick in 2022. Pic: Reuters

Born Endrick Felipe Moreira de Sousa in 2006, the future star’s mother was homeless at times during his upbringing, and, as a result, he spent time in an orphanage.

However, his talent was clear and his father, who at one point was away from the family chasing his own football career, would upload footage of his son’s goals on YouTube in the hope of attracting interest from Brazilian clubs.

At the age of 11, Palmeiras came calling.

The club were so keen for him to sign for the team that they offered his family a flat and gave Endrick’s father a job as a janitor.

Soccer Football - Brasileiro Championship - Palmeiras v Coritiba - Allianz Parque, Sao Paulo, Brazil - October 6, 2022 Palmeiras' Endrick in action with Coritiba's Gabriel REUTERS/Carla Carniel
Pic: Reuters

SP - Sao Paulo - 01/25/2022 - COPA SAO PAULO 2022, PALMEIRAS X SANTOS - Endrick do Palmeiras celebrates the title of champion during the award ceremony after winning against Santos in a match at the Arena Allianz Parque stadium for the decision of the Copa Sao Paulo championship 2022. Photo: Marcello Zambrana/AGIF
Endrick celebrates winning the 2022 Sao Paulo Cup with Palmeiras. Pic: AP

He would go on to score 165 goals in 169 games for the Palmeiras youth teams, before making his debut at the age of 16 years, two months and 16 days.

Two months after making his debut, Real Madrid announced they had secured Endrick’s signature.

Comparisons to Brazil legends

Like many promising youngsters before him, Endrick, a powerful left-footed striker with a keen eye for goal, has drawn comparisons to past Brazilian legends.

Following the announcement of his move to Madrid, European football expert Kevin Hatchard described Endrick as a “bit of a pocket rocket”.

“He’s only 5ft8, but he’s got a lot of power with his shooting,” he told Sky Sports News at the time.

Brazil's Endrick celebrates after scoring the opening goal against Bolivia during a South America's under-23 pre-Olympic tournament soccer match at the Brigido Iriarte stadium in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
Brazil’s Endrick celebrates after scoring against Bolivia in the under-23 pre-Olympic tournament. Pic: AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos

Following Endrick’s goal at Wembley, former England midfielder Joe Cole likened the youngster to legendary Brazilian striker Romario, who scored over 700 career goals – including 55 for Brazil.

“I think he has got a little bit of Romario about him,” he told Channel 4. “The body shape, the way he tucks the ball away.”

Others have drawn comparisons to the great Pele – arguably the best player to ever grace a football pitch and a national hero in Brazil.

firo Football, 17.07.1994 World Cup 1994 Final Brazil - Italy 3: 2 nVuE Team Brazil, presentation ceremony, with trophy Romario, | usage worldwide Photo by: firo Sportphoto/ J'rgen Fromme/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Endrick has been compared to the Brazil legend Romario, pictured here in the 1994 World Cup final. Pic: AP

However, Endrick has attempted to play down those comparisons.

“I didn’t ask for this,” he said in April last year.

“There are situations that cross a line – ‘Ah, he’s the new Pele.’

“Man, nobody is going to be Pele, he’s the king of football.”

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Comparisons aside, Endrick’s national team manager has talked in glowing terms about the teenager’s talent.

“If he keeps up the attitude he has shown up to now, he will be a very important name in Brazilian football and world football,” Dorival Junior said following Saturday’s friendly.

One thing is for certain, with the world at his feet, a contract with Real Madrid in the bag, and a Wembley goal under his belt, everything is in place for Endrick to carve out his own legend.