Brazilian youngster Rodrygo is developing at an impressive rate in his home country and helped himself to a nine-minute hat-trick for Santos this week against Vitoria. That night the scouts of LaLiga club Barcelona rubbed their hands as they watched the 17-year-old attacker who they have been closely monitoring for months.
Real Madrid aim to steal Barça target
The script may have been written for the up-and-coming actor to make a blockbuster move to the Camp Nou, but in recent hours the plot has taken a significant twist: thanks to Barça's bitter rivals, Real Madrid.
According to Brazilian outlet Globoesporte, Los Blancos have sat in the background, watching the discussions unfold before making their late, but significant, move. An offer to Santos that far exceeds that of Barça may put a spanner in the works of Ernesto Valverde's plans. The release clause for Rodrygo currently sits at a reported 50 million euros and Real Madrid are willing to pay almost all of that (45 million) to get the club's agreement to make the deal. Another seven million euros would be laid out for the player himself.
With Barcelona eyes on Rodrygo for over year, the offer being made by them to prise the forward away was 30 million euros, one significantly usurped by Madrid. And despìte not having a manager in place, Real Madrid's hierarchy are looking to repeat a similar operation to that conducted with another precocious talent, Vinicius Jr, who last summer signed with Madrid for the same transfer value but then stayed in the Brazilian league to develop further before taking the next step.
Santos could look for Neymar revenge
Rodrygo's representatives are in no hurry for the player to move as the player will not turn 18 until January 2019. Also, Diario AS has learned that he is keen to stay with his current club for at least another year and fight with them to win some silverware.
"I do not have a preference for Madrid or Barcelona. Right now I'm only thinking about Santos," he said after the match against Corinthians.
Money is the main reason why Santos would choose to deal with Real Madrid, but the Neymar operation (when he moved to Barça) is another incentive. The senior management has changed since 2013, but in Vila Belmiro the soap opera of their previous star still hurts and coming to an agreement with Madrid could be the best way to get revenge.