By Carlos Meneses
Sao Paulo, Nov 9 (EFE).- At the tender age of 16, Brazil’s latest soccer phenom is already attracting the attention of Europe’s top clubs.
Even so, Endrick Felipe says he is trying to stay grounded amid rumors he is studying Spanish, English and French with a view to leaving Sao Paulo club Palmeiras in the near future.
In an interview with Efe, the talented striker acknowledged that he dreams about playing one day alongside the world’s best players in Europe but at present is fully focused on his current club.
“I’m not looking at the things they say or what teams come or what scouts come. I’m focused on Palmeiras,” Endrick, who in July signed a three-year deal with a reported rescission clause in the amount of 60 million euros ($60.1 million), said at the club’s training facility.
The player, whose club last week won its 11th Brazilian league title, talked about his strong ambition, desire to improve and close ties to his family, especially his younger brother Noah.
“I didn’t have a very good childhood, and I want to give him a good life so he can have everything he wants. He’s like a good-luck charm. I look at him and try to do everything for him,” Endrick said of growing up in impoverished conditions.
A native of Brasilia, he is attracting a level of media attention that has not been seen for a young Brazilian player since Neymar Jr. a decade ago.
Yet he insists on keeping his feet on the ground.
“My present is here at Palmeiras … What I most want is to play with Palmeiras,” Endrick said.
Under contract until 2025 and unable to play in Europe until he turns 18, the young star says his goal is to help the Periquito Verde, one of the most popular clubs in South America, win more titles.
“I need to try to surprise people and make people believe in me,” he said.
Endrick, who said he is still finding his place on the senior side, has tallied three goals and an assist in his first five games, including one in Palmeiras’ title-clinching home victory over Fortaleza on Nov. 2.
Yet he remains unsatisfied and says he needs to work even harder to improve.
Part of his training regimen involves watching videos of Brazilian former great Ronaldo Nazario before each match. “I like watching them because he’s a really good guy who I’ve had the pleasure of talking to on three occasions.”
He also says he learns from watching top LaLiga players such as Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior and FC Barcelona’s Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.
Endrick, who is already on the radar of major European clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United, did not express a preference for any of those sides in particular.
“I was in Madrid for a bit with my family and I liked the language there a lot. It’s a really interesting language. And I was also in England and also like it a lot.”
Endrick also is in no rush to play in the World Cup, even though Ronaldo Nazario said this week that he would have taken the youngster to Qatar if he were the manager.
“If (head coach) Tite had called me up, I would’ve been stunned. I wouldn’t have known what to do, but you have to keep going forward, working so you can be in the next one,” he said. EFE