Andrique: The latest Brazilian magician wants to take the main stage at Real Madrid

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The only thing more eccentrically produced in Brazil than football wizards is probably coffee.

Brazil’s illustrious lineage of young football talents, stretching from Pelé in the 1950s to Ronaldo Nazario in the 90s to Neymar in the 2010s, has the latest offering – Andrique.

The 17-year-old forward offered a glimpse of his yet to be fully utilized goalscoring skills when he netted twice for Brazil in a recent set of international friendlies.

The first was a late winner – a disappointing tap-in – at Wembley against England. The second was a left-footed piledriver from the edge of the box against Spain at the Bernabeu, his soon-to-be home ground.

Is it a fly, is it an airplane? Andrić hit a shot to score his second goal for Brazil in an international friendly against Spain. , Photo courtesy: Reuters

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Is it a fly, is it an airplane? Andrić hit a shot to score his second goal for Brazil in an international friendly against Spain. , Photo courtesy: Reuters

For Andrić it all started with Palmeiras in the junior division of Brazilian football where the forward scored goals by the truckload. At the age of 16, the youngster soon reached the depths of professional football and became the youngest player to play for Palmeiras’ senior team.

Within a few months, Real Madrid – who were signing talented Brazilian players in retaliation after missing out on Neymar at Barcelona in 2013 – agreed to sign Andrić on a contract. WhiteReportedly US$50 million by July 2024.

To make it better for Madrid, Andrić chose the Spanish capital over Barcelona, ​​whose manager Xavi had earmarked the Brazilian teenager as a player for the future.

“He has great finishing, dribbling and the ability to make a difference on the pitch. He is already a player of the present – ​​playing in the Brazilian league – and of the future,” said Xavi before Andrić’s selection for the White side the ancient Rivalry.

Despite multiplying the spotlight himself, Andrić continued to do what he does best – scoring goals.

In the 2023 Brazilian Série A league, Andrić led the line in Palmeiras’ title win, scoring 11 goals, despite starting only 18 games. His goals/90 (0.64) was the best for any player scoring more than five goals in the league.

RELATED: Pele’s Santos eliminated for first time in 111 years, Palmeiras Brazil Serie A champions

Only one under-18 player has scored more goals in a season in the Brazilian league – Ronaldo Nazario.

“I think he is a boy with a very promising future and he is already working as a professional,” Ronaldo declared, as he pledged to include Andrić in the 2022 Brazil World Cup squad Which ultimately did not happen.

For any budding Brazilian footballer, comparisons with Ronaldo, Neymar and others are inevitable. Drawing lines of mysterious connections between players of the past and the potential vision of a talent not yet fully developed is an exercise fraught with danger.

Destined for greatness: Andrique celebrates winning the Brazilian Championship with Palmeiras by defeating Cruzeiro at the Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

Destined for greatness: Andrić celebrates winning the Brazilian Championship with Palmeiras by defeating Cruzeiro at the Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. , Photo Credit: Douglas Magno

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Destined for greatness: Andrić celebrates winning the Brazilian Championship with Palmeiras by defeating Cruzeiro at the Mineirão Stadium in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. , Photo Credit: Douglas Magno

However Andrić has become accustomed to the glare of football popularity that he has inherited.

“I was angry because I wanted to show them [critics] Who was I? I tried to counter the criticism and show who I am. But then I realized that I didn’t need to prove it, I didn’t need to show the contrary. If they want to insult me ​​I will not watch it. “Criticism doesn’t hurt me anymore,” Andrić said in an interview. Guardian,

Closer to Ronaldo than Neymar

If one could use a broad brush of classification for style of play, Andrić is closer to Ronaldo than Neymar.

Despite being adept on the ball, the left-footed Andrić prefers to score goals rather than collect the ball. In the 2023 Serie A season, the Brazilian youngster attempted only 4.28 take-ons/90 minutes with a success rate of 45.9%.

In comparison, Andrić’s compatriot and soon-to-be club teammate Vinicius Junior – the last Brazilian wonder kid to make it big – has attempted 8.82 take-ons/90 minutes in the current La Liga season.

Andrić also prefers to play centrally, often operating as the sole striker or as a withdrawn striker. Over the past two seasons, he has shown his ability to consistently be in the right spot for rebounds and half-spots, just as he did against England at Wembley.

The 17-year-old also has an exciting long shot in his locker, with three of his 11 goals for Palmeiras in the 2023 Serie A season coming from outside the box. The best of the three was a 25-yard grounded sizzler he scored against Internacional.

Despite being only 1.73 meters tall, Andrić is a useful passer in the air. He wins 0.81 aerial duels/90 minutes – with a success rate of 28% – which is far higher than Vinicius’s number of 0.06 aerial duels/90 minutes.

Where does he fit in at Real Madrid?

As in the past, Real Madrid have created a lot of problems for themselves. Andrić’s inclusion means Carlo Ancelotti’s side now have three extremely talented Brazilian attackers, with Vinicius and Rodrigo being the other two.

Club teammates compatriots: Andrić will be reunited with Vinicius Junior at Real Madrid, who has established himself as a regular first-team player.

Club teammates’ compatriots: Andrić will be reunited with Vinicius Junior at Real Madrid, who has established himself as a regular first-team player. , Photo courtesy: Reuters

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Club teammates’ compatriots: Andrić will be reunited with Vinicius Junior at Real Madrid, who has established himself as a regular first-team player. , Photo courtesy: Reuters

With Andrić’s inability to play on the left and Vinicius’ unstoppable stature, Rodrygo will likely be a direct competitor to the Brazilian newcomer for a spot in the lineup. England’s talented Jude Bellingham has been offering a regular goalscoring outlet from midfield and it seems unlikely that Ancelotti will opt to play all three of his Brazilian attackers.

Also read: Brazil boss predicts big things for teenager Andrique after England win

What’s more, Madrid are very close to ending Paris Saint-Germain’s endless pursuit of French goal-scoring freak Kylian Mbappe. This could push Andrić further down the pecking order, compromising his playing time.

However, Andrić and his supporters will take solace in Ancelotti’s man-management skills, which have led many of the young talents to blossom in the team in recent years.

For all its famous Brazilian lineage Wunderkind The outlet has had its share of hit-and-misses. The cases of Alexandro Pato, Ganso and Robinho are just some of the many who disappeared after showing so much promise.

Andrić’s destiny is unknown, his future depends on many elements, some beyond his control. But if there’s one thing better than imagining what could have been, it’s anticipating the possibility of what will happen.


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