Real sign talented young Brazilian? I’ve read this story before…


Back in 2002, Real Madrid signed the Brazilian Ronaldo from Inter Milan.

Aged 25, Ronaldo was at his peak. It was part of their Galactico era – Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham were regulars in the team – and he scored 83 goals in 127 games.

Injury and weight problems blighted the end of his time at the Bernabeu, but it was still a very successful signing – not least the iconic hat-trick he scored against Manchester United in the 2003 Champions League quarter-final at Old Trafford.

Since then, Madrid have signed five Brazilian forwards, looking for another star who can terrify defences across Europe – but it is yet to really work.

The first was Robinho. A number of clubs across Europe had chased him after some stunning performances for Santos as a teenager, but it was Madrid who locked down his signature after meeting a buy-out clause in July 2005 and he scored 35 goals in 137 games for the club.

Initially he was ignored by Fabio Capello, but briefly thrived after Capello’s sacking – only to get badly injured and struggle to find form again. He caused great excitement when Manchester City – flush with cash after their takeover by Abu Dhabi United investment company – snapped him up in 2008, but it would turn out he was already past his peak.

Julio Baptista arrived as a prolific goalscorer from Sevilla in 2005, but his struggles and return of 13 goals in 77 games saw him loaned to Arsenal in the summer of 2006.

Real then signed what seemed to be a proven talent in Kaka in 2009.

But he never found that same form for Madrid, troubled by a long-standing knee injury. After four years on and off the treatment table, he returned briefly to Milan before heading to the MLS.

Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo
Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo will now be joined by Reinier

In 2018, Flamengo – also Reinier’s previous club – were then raided by Madrid as they moved for Vinicius Junior.

They paid £38.7m for him – he had such potential that Flamengo had tied him to a lucrative long-term deal the day after he had made his debut for them – and became the first player for Madrid born in the 21st Century.

Now 18 months into his time at the Bernabeu, he has played 31 games in La Liga – but only scored three times, a ratio that has not impressed.

And even though he is still only 19, he has been outshone by an even younger Brazilian in Rodrygo, a winger signed from Santos in 2019 who scored his first goal a minute into his Real debut in September last year.

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