Rodrygo told to brace himself for difficult start at Real Madrid alongside ‘icons’

The highly-rated Brazilian is set to link up with the Liga giants this summer with Santos boss Jorge Sampaoli warning him to expect a rough ride

Rodrygo is one of the hottest prospects in world football, but Jorge Sampaoli has warned the Real Madrid new boy to expect a “difficult” start to life among “icons” at the Santiago Bernabeu.

At 18 years of age, the Brazilian youngster is preparing to depart Santos for Spain.

A deal with Madrid has been in place for some time, with the Blancos allowing a promising talent to further his development by spending another 12 months in his homeland.

They are now ready to welcome him onto their books, a year on from bringing fellow countryman Vinicius Junior into their first-team plans.

Santos boss Sampaoli believes Rodrygo will prove to be a shrewd addition for Real, but the former Sevilla coach believes he may find the going tough in Europe to begin with.

He told reporters of the expectation around a teenager being tipped for the top: “Rodrygo is going to one of the best teams in the world at a very young age and there will be a very big contrast when he arrives at Real Madrid as he will share a dressing room with players who are very successful and who are icons in Europe.

“At the beginning, it will be very difficult for him but he has the potential [to make it].

“He is very young and he should have the same expectations about his performances after this huge leap he made in his life and his career.

“In Spain, there is a lot of collective play while here in Brazil these types of players tend to be much more individualistic.

“During this period, we insisted on the connection of communicating through passing the ball, but also how to pick the moments, to understand when you have to dribble or when to play into space.

“These are things that you are forced to do in Spain.”

Rodrygo Brazil

Rodrygo has admitted to feeling nerves ahead of his impending arrival in Madrid, telling Santos FC TV: “Of course it motivates me to be at one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“That can also scare you but that fear is good because it motivates you even more. I want to prove why this club believed in me and signed me.”

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He added on leaving Santos, who have nurtured him to this point: “I have mixed feelings as I'm leaving the place where I've been since I was 10 but at the same time, I feel good because I leave knowing I've done a good job here. 

“Who knows, perhaps one day I will return. I always had the pressure to be the successor of players like Neymar and Robinho but I never worried about that.

“I just focused on training and being ready.”