Real Madrid's brilliant recruitment strategy has seen them enlist some of the brightest young talents in the world, with the likes of Vinicius Junior, Jude Bellingham and Rodrygo presently donning the famous white shirt.
Aside from the financial pull of the Spanish giants, the Madrid side also have a formidable legacy to offer to their transfer targets as an incentive to turn up at the Santiago Bernabeu. One such fanatic, currently plying his trade at Real Madrid, is the aforementioned attacker Rodrygo.
As reported by Madrid Xtra, the 22-year-old Brazilian recently recalled a conversation he had with his father about his future. While still stationed at his boyhood club Santos, Rodrygo apparently had the chance to join Real Madrid's bitter rivals Barcelona. However, he insisted on waiting for an offer from Los Blancos, much to his father's annoyance.
According to Brazilian sports outlet Globo, the youngster had the following to say about the supposed transfer snub:
"Practically everything was done with Barcelona, we just needed to sign. I asked my dad: 'Is there nothing from Real Madrid?' There was nothing. I asked to wait for the weekend because we had a game. I said ‘I'm going to tear it up and Real Madrid will see me.’"
"My father got mad at me. 'Are you kidding me? We have an offer from Barcelona. You're going to play with Messi and you want me to wait?' I went to the game, I scored 3 goals and gave an assist. During the game Real Madrid called my father."
"The next day, my father left without saying anything. He came back later, went straight into my room and had a Real Madrid and a Barcelona shirt. He threw them to me and said: 'choose.' I didn't even think about it, it was Real Madrid."
Rodrygo eventually got his wish, joining Real Madrid as an 18-year-old for a fee of €45m (source: Transfermarkt). He has since gone on to make 166 appearances for Los Blancos, scoring 38 times and providing 32 assists. The Brazilian prodigy became a household name in 2022 when he helped his club stage a shock comeback against favourites Manchester City in the second leg of the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.
Entering the pitch in the 68th minute, Rodrygo scored two goals in the dying embers of the game to level the score on aggregate. With an additional 30 minutes added to the leg, former Madridista Karim Benzema ensured his team's victory by slotting the ball past Ederson from the penalty spot in the 95th minute. Carlo Ancelotti's men went on to win the competition, defeating Liverpool in the final.
What does the future hold for Rodrygo at Real Madrid?
Rodrygo was recently handed the coveted number 11 shirt following Marco Asensio's departure to French giants Paris Saint-Germain. In spite of a slow start to life in Madrid, the 14-time capped Brazil international has now successfully integrated himself into the first team.
Predominantly playing on the right wing, Rodrygo has often been deployed as the sole striker. Surprisingly, he has been able to deliver in the No.9 position, chipping in with regular goals. The youngster ended the 2022-23 campaign with an impressive 19 goals and 11 assists in all competitions.
With the departure of the Karim Benzema, Rodrygo could find himself switching positions from game to game. Nevertheless, it shouldn't be a problem for him, considering the 22-year-old's immense potential.