Young Sensation Endrik: Rising Star for Palmeiras and Real Madrid
Only 17 years old. In the meantime, Ndrik is being compared with Pele and Neymar. Brazilians are looking for new hope in this teenager. But Endrik is keeping his feet on the ground rather than being overwhelmed by the praise, saying that he doesn't think about the madness that is going on around him.
A few days ago, the young forward won the Brazilian top league Serie A for Palmeiras. After turning 18 next year, he is embarrassed to be compared to Endric Pele, who is going to join Spanish superpower Real Madrid. He is the king of football.
"I only want to be comparable to myself," Ndrik told AFP at a signing ceremony with a new sponsor in Sao Paulo yesterday. "I just want to be Ndrik." I want to show them who Endrik is.'
Endrik made his professional football debut at the age of 16. Since then he has been showing how solid, fast and smart he is with the ball. He played two seasons in professional football and won the Brazilian top league twice with Palmares. Not only the league, but also the Brazilian Super Cup and the São Paulo state championship, Ndrik has won. Last month, he became the youngest player to be called up to the Brazil national team after the legendary Ronaldo.
Real Madrid has already completed the work of drawing Ndrik to the team in 2022. Real, the biggest name in European club football, has completed the contract for 6.5 billion US dollars. The Brazilians' World Cup hopes got a little bit winded. Supporters of the team that last won the World Cup in 2002 are hoping that Andrique will return to the glory days of Brazilian football.
Neymar and his teammates have failed to deliver the 'hexa' to the Brazilians in three consecutive World Cups. The Seleção are having a bad time in the 2026 World Cup and the qualifiers. Brazil is currently sixth in the qualifiers for the CONMEBOL region of the 10-team double league system. The team has lost three matches in a row. It has also left a big stain on Brazilian football. Last month's loss to arch-rivals Argentina at the Maracana was Brazil's first home defeat in World Cup qualifying history.
The pressure on the team's interim coach Fernando Diniz is only increasing. There is a demand to keep Ndrik in the first eleven, there is a demand to give Ndrik the number 9 jersey that was worn by former stars like Ronaldo and Tostave.
However, Ndrik told AFP that the jersey number does not matter, "Many players want the number 9 jersey in the national team. I don't think about my number. I just want to be in the team and play.
Endric will go to Real Madrid after his 18th birthday. Can he live up to expectations there? However, he already knows how to play under pressure. In 2022, he scored 3 goals in 7 matches to help Palmeiras win the league. Endrik did not have a good start to the 2023 season. He scored only 4 goals in the first 19 matches. At one point, he even cried on the field because he did not get a goal.
Endrik also spoke about that to AFP, 'The beginning of the season was very messy. Then I turned the "little key" in my head, realized I was happy. After that I helped the team to win the title. Hopefully, I can contribute more next year.' Endrik scored 4 goals in the first 19 matches and scored 7 goals in the next 12 matches.
Endrik also said what the 'little key' was that changed. Endrik now does not read what is written about him on social media. Instead, he now spends time with family and friends. Began practicing separately outside of formal practice with the team, also started going to English and Spanish classes. Endrik got the result in cash. Started to score. And Palmeiras also beat Botafogo in the nerve-wracking season to become champions in the league.
Despite playing a big role in the success of the team, Endrik is not willing to see it too big, 'They say I am the hero, but I don't think so. The whole team is a hero to me. I'm just happy to help the club I love.'
"Don't be nervous" - that's why Endrik said he didn't think too much about going to Madrid. He said that he is also very well aware of the racist behavior that his Brazilian teammate Vinicius Jr. suffered in Spain. However, he also recalled that he experienced racism in Brazil, "I didn't want to think about it too much." I just kept playing. I just wanted to do what I love the most - playing football.'