- Rodrygo discusses his dream to symbolize Brazil at Qatar 2022
- The 20-12 months-previous hails Neymar, Casemiro and Karim Benzema
- He believes Real Madrid will conquer Spain and Europe this 12 months
As a 27-12 months-previous proper-again was getting ready to deal with the indecipherable puzzle that was Neymar in 2012, he obtained a faucet on the shoulder, spun spherical, and obtained some phrases of recommendation. Not from his Mirassol coach or one of many Brazilian fourth-flight aspect’s senior gamers, however from his 11-12 months-previous son.
Fast-forward a number of years and that miniature mentor was Neymar’s group-mate in a Brazil squad that kicked off FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying with a 5-0 thumping of Bolivia. Rodrygo’s rise has, certainly, mimicked his nickname, ‘O Rayo’.
The winger broke data for Santos, together with turning into the youngest Brazilian to rating within the Copa Libertadores, earlier than signing for Real Madrid as a 17-12 months-previous. He netted his first objective for Los Blancos inside a minute of his debut, and on his UEFA Champions League bow in November 2019, grew to become the youngest Brazilian to rating within the competitors and the second-youngest participant to register a hat-trick in it after Raul.
FIFA.com caught up with Rodrygo to focus on his World Cup aspirations, Real Madrid’s bid for home and continental glory, Neymar, Casemiro, Karim Benzema and extra.
FIFA.com: Rodrygo, there’s a hearsay the Mirassol proper-again obtained some particular ideas earlier than marking Santos’s Neymar…
Rodrygo: (laughs) I used to be within the youth ranks at Santos, so I used to watch all of Neymar’s video games. I’d seen so many alternative strikes he would do and I knew how troublesome it was to mark Neymar. I used to be solely 11, however I informed my dad to be careful as a result of Neymar would do that transfer and be careful as a result of he would do that trick. My dad had a very good recreation, so possibly the child’s ideas weren’t that dangerous!
Who had been your idols rising up?
I at all times favored Neymar, Robinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, however my greatest hero was my dad. I used to love going to watch him play. I used to be unhappy after we had been aside due to soccer, however typically we moved cities to be with him. That stopped after I joined Santos.
What do you consider Neymar?
An absolute genius as a footballer, a novel participant. And he’s an unbelievable particular person. In the brief time we’ve had collectively, he’s been a sensational affect on me.
How a lot have you ever dreamed about taking part in within the World Cup?
Ever since I understood what soccer is, I’ve dreamed of taking part in within the World Cup. The World Cup in Brazil is one thing wonderful. I bear in mind being younger and seeing the streets painted with the Brazilian colors. You collect the entire household to watch the video games, everybody cheering the Seleção fanatically. They are nice reminiscences. Now I would like to be a type of gamers I used to be watching. Brazil has so many nice gamers, so there’s numerous competitors, however day-after-day I’m doing everything possible to make it occur. Ever since I turned skilled as a 16-12 months-previous, I’ve at all times listened to everything my coaches have stated, tried to soak the recommendation in, and to study from my group-mates. I thank all of them for serving to me attain the place I’m, however I’ll proceed to try to study, enhance to realise my World Cup dream.
Being two-footed and in a position to play in a number of positions might enable you to. Is it a pure expertise or one thing you might have labored on?
I feel I had a pure aptitude, but it surely was extra to do with my dad and numerous apply. Since I used to be little or no my dad made me shoot with each ft, management the ball with two ft. I educated quite a bit on my weaker foot and daily, I grew to become extra two-footed.
Aside from Brazil, who do you suppose has the most effective likelihood of successful Qatar 2022?
(Pauses) I feel Spain or France. They have actually robust groups. Portugal are constructing a extremely good group too.
You talked about Ronaldo was an idol of yours. In mid-2018, Madrid signed you and bought him. Do you remorse not having had the prospect to play alongside Cristiano?
No. I’m delighted to have fulfilled a dream and be right here at Real Madrid. Look, I’ve at all times adopted Cristiano’s profession, watched him do wonders for Real Madrid, and it will have been nice to play alongside him, however I’m very joyful to be residing the dream of being a Real Madrid participant.
What do you consider Casemiro?
Casa’s a phenomenon. He’s a man who’s helped me quite a bit since I arrived right here. He’s an exquisite particular person. I’d seen him taking part in on the TV beforehand and thought he was an unbelievable participant, however he’s even higher than I believed. Casemiro is no doubt the most effective defensive midfielder on the earth.
You’ve been on hearth within the Champions League. You should be delighted along with your performances within the competitors?
Without doubt. Fortunately, in each recreation that I’ve performed within the competitors, I’ve been in a position to rating a objective, make an help or play properly and assist my group. We’re happy to attain the quarter-finals, however our goal is to win the ultimate. We’re not the favourites this 12 months, however I consider we are able to win the Champions League.
Next up will be Liverpool…
The additional you go on this competitors, the harder it turns into. At this stage all of the groups are actually robust, and Liverpool are one in every of them. They will certainly be two nice video games, very even.
Real are third in La Liga, six factors behind leaders Atletico. Do you consider you’ll win the title?
Without doubt. There’s numerous factors to play for. We’re working actually laborious. It’s about occurring a run. Last 12 months we had been behind Barcelona, however we put a run of victories collectively and received the title. We want to do the identical once more. This group has a lot battle in it and we’ve got numerous high quality. I feel issues are coming collectively at the appropriate time and that we’ve got an enormous likelihood of turning into champions.
Madrid face Barcelona quickly. What’s it like to play in El Clásico?
It’s an incredible sensation. Around every week earlier than the sport you begin feeling it. It’s a recreation anybody who likes soccer has at all times dreamed of taking part in in. The world watches it. It’s unbelievable to play in a recreation of this magnitude.
Who do you suppose is the most effective participant on the earth?
Benzema. He’s an distinctive participant. He’s having an unbelievable season, he had an unbelievable season final 12 months, and he’s had a number of unbelievable seasons in his profession. To play alongside him is an enormous honour. I actually take pleasure in having the ability to provide him with passes. His ending is magnificent. He’s a extremely cool man too.
What do you want to do in your spare time?
I like to spend time with my household and associates, exit for dinner, play the ukulele, play desk tennis and basketball. I like watching the NBA too. I’m a fan of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Lebron [James].