Endrick: At CONMEBOL Copa América™, the future is now

Discover young talents like Endrick preparing to shine in the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024. Read about their stories and expectations.

May 15, 2024
  • The striker is already shining among Palmeiras' starting XI with decisive goals.
  • Real Madrid paid a record fee for the young Brazilian national team star.

The talent of young players has always been of special interest to Brazilian football fans, a constant factory for creating great players. However, an Endrick doesn’t emerge often—someone who not only attracts attention from a very young age but also meets expectations impressively. This is the case of Brazil's young star, and his highly anticipated CONMEBOL Copa América United States 2024™ debut.

Excitement around the young star didn't start at 19, 18, or even 17 years old (his current age), but at 10 years old. Douglas Sousa, Endrick's father, bet on his son’s future to the point of quitting his job to follow and invest in Endrick’s football career. Palmeiras believed in him, welcoming not only the boy but also his family to the big city. The Verdão reaped the rewards, and soon the entire country began closely following the rise of an exceptional talent.

On the pitch, Endrick skipped steps, playing against older boys, scoring goals at a dizzying pace, winning titles, and earning top scorer awards in youth championships. Off the field, life was more challenging—money was scarce and food sometimes insufficient, although his father sent all he could while staying in the Federal District, the place of his family's origin, until he got a job at Palmeiras to keep his wife and children close.

"Football was not only my dream but our father's dream, our grandfather's dream, the dream of the entire family," Endrick said in an emotional interview with the Player's Tribune.

Endrick Palmeiras Libertadores 2024

The boy never looked back and proved he was destined for greatness in the Copa São Paulo de Futebol Júnior, the largest youth tournament in Brazil, in 2022. Endrick was only 15 years old in a tournament for athletes up to 20 years old. Even so, he shone and was the highlight of Palmeiras, champions of the tournament, finishing as the second top scorer with six goals.

Fans even called for him to be with the first team, but the first-team coach, Abel Ferreira, dismissed summoning the player for the FIFA Club World Cup, which would take place in Morocco a few weeks later: "Don't rush, don't worry. At that age, if the club gives him and his family a ticket to Disneyland, it's the best, so he keeps playing," said the Portuguese coach in a relaxed tone at the time.

Endrick continued to play well for the youth ranks, but not for long. Midyear, he signed his first professional contract with the club, and months later, he debuted as a professional. He scored three goals in Palmeiras' title-winning campaign in the Brasileirão Série A 2022, soon sparking a race among Europe's top clubs for his signing. Real Madrid won the race but had to pay the highest amount ever received in Brazilian club history. As soon as he turns 18, Santiago Bernabéu will be the forward's new home.

Reaching heights few can, European football, hasn't made Endrick lose focus or dedication. On the contrary, it took him even further in 2023: he earned a spot in the first team, played at a high level, and was decisive in winning another title for the São Paulo club. The match against Botafogo was perhaps the boy's big statement, scoring two goals in the second half and leading a historic comeback in Rio de Janeiro, when his team was losing 3-0 at halftime.

Endrick, campeão Palmeiras Brasileiro 2023

In his last year before coming of age and moving to Europe, he continues to score goals and is now winning over fans across Brazil ahead of the CONMEBOL Copa América 2024™. Endrick featured in the team's first two friendlies under coach Dorival Júnior and made his mark in both, including scoring the winning goal at Wembley against England and equalizing against Spain at the Bernabéu.

It will be hard for the young talent from Taguatinga, so highly praised over the years, not to be in the starting lineup of one of the favorite teams in this CONMEBOL Copa América™.

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