Real Madrid Spoke to MARCA ahead of move to Los Blancos
Rodrygo Goes has admitted that he’s always dreamt of playing for Real Madrid at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
He told MARCA about how supported Los Blancos growing up, his relationship with Vinicius Junior and what he wants to achieve in Spain.
Could you say that Rodrygo is as good a person as he is as a player?
Rodrygo is a young and happy boy with the will to succeed in life and in the shirt of Real Madrid, which is a dream he had since he was a kid. He watched what Real Madrid did and dreamed of wearing the shirt.
Those that know you well say that you are a youngster with an older head.
You always have to be like this. You always have to be concentrated in life, think about what you can do and what you can’t do. I’m able to be wary in every moment of what I’m doing. Now I’m at Santos and I’m able to concentrate and keep my head, thinking about the team. And it will be the same at Real Madrid. Let no one tell you otherwise.
They speak about Rodrygo as a perfect professional who lives and breathes football.
I have a great work ethic. I’ve always been like this. I’ve dedicated my whole life to football.
But you’re 18 and still have the right to act your age, don’t you?
Yes, for sure, but I know the responsibility that I have and it doesn’t matter if I’m 18 or not. I’m a footballer. I have responsibility and I have to be like this.
What are you like as a player?
I like to play on the wing. I also like to play in the centre, which is where the coach has me at the moment. The important thing is playing football, but I prefer being a winger.
Do you know what it means to play for Real Madrid?
It’s the biggest and best club in the world. Therefore, when Real Madrid were interested in signing me, I didn’t have to think twice and I stopped listening to other teams. Everything that surrounds this team is good. I was sure from the first moment.
Before signing for Real Madrid, there were lots of clubs interested in Rodrygo, including Barcelona who were in Santos ready to sign you.
I didn’t know about what was going on around him. I read about it, I listened to things, but I was just concentrated on playing football and nothing else. And then, when Real Madrid told me they were interested, I didn’t think twice. I said: I have to sign [for them]. It was like a dream; I’ve watched Madrid since I was small and I’ve always had this desire to wear the shirt one day.
Tell me the truth, were you a really Real Madrid fan since you were young?
Yes, yes, it’s the truth. Here in Brazil, you have a local team and you also have a European team; one that you follow and support. Mine was Real.
Did you plan to play in Europe and at Real Madrid so soon in your career?
No, I didn’t expect to move to Europe this early. It was my dream, a desire to play for Madrid; one that every kid that plays football has. But it’s happened so soon and I’m ready.
How has it been during the last year, knowing that you’ll be joining Real Madrid?
I’ve tried to focus solely on Santos during this time. Sure it’s difficult to focus on something other than Real Madrid. Knowing you’re a Real Madrid player and not thinking about it is difficult. I’ve tried to think about Santos and keep growing as a player ahead of coming to Madrid.
You’ve already been to the Santiago Bernabeu to see a Real Madrid game, what was it like being in that stadium?
In love, happy. The Santiago Bernabeu is beautiful. I knew the stadium from seeing it on TV and I always wanted to play there one day. I always play at the Bernabeu on the PlayStation. It was a dream come true.
Did you go on the pitch? Did you look up at the stands?
[The stands] were very tall and very beautiful. I used to imagine this whole stadium singing my name, saying ‘Rodrygo, Rodrygo’ and celebrating my goals.
You met some of the first-team players that day, didn’t you?
Yes, yes. I got in a lift with [Karim] Benzema and [Luka] Modric. Imagine. It was a tremendous surprise and even more so when they recognised me. I was going to my seat and I saw them coming in and, obviously, I had to ask for a photo. I went up to ask them for a photo, but they recognised me. It was a great surprise for me. I was with Florentino Perez and I went to greet them and they came and met me. I’d seen them at home, in videogames and now I’m with them and they’ve met me. Everyone treated me very well.
Were you able to meet with any more of your future teammates?
Not many more because I was really there to meet the club and have medical tests. I spoke with Vinicius, who I knew from Brazil, with Marcelo, with the Brazilians. It was all like a dream.
You’re the same age as Vinicius, but you’re very different, aren’t you?
We share characteristics as players. We’re similar. We’re both quick. We like to dribble and score goals. As a person? I don’t like speaking about others. I don’t have to. I get on very well with him.
Vinicius transmits joy…
He’s very jovial. He’s smiling all the time, ready to make a joke. I’ve enjoyed being with him with the national team and I’m going to like being with him at Real Madrid. He brings happiness wherever he goes.
Can you imagine a Real Madrid team with Vinicius on one wing and Rodrygo on the other?
I’ve certainly thought about it. Maybe. If only it happens and the fans can enjoy our football.
How do you imagine your first Real Madrid goal?
With a pass from Vinicius.
Do you like playing with Vinicius?
A lot. He has that Brazilian style of play. He’s very good.
Did you see him crying when he got injured against Ajax?
I felt it as if it was my injury. We’re friends, we speak a lot and what happened was bad.
Do you feel pressure signing for Real Madrid at just 18 years old and for such a high price?
Pressure forms part of football and you have to live with it. Real Madrid are the best club in the world and pressure is always going to be there. It’s just part of football and you have to deal with it naturally.
Real Madrid haven’t had a good season – have you watched many of their games?
Lots. It’s been a difficult season, but Real Madrid always come back. It’s the best club in the world. They’ve won four Champions Leagues in five years and you can’t forget that. They’ll be back.
Do you see it as another challenge?
Yes, for sure. For me and my teammates. Real Madrid are a team that’s always winning things and we’re going to get back to winning.
What do you think about [Zinedine] Zidane? Vinicius said a few weeks ago that he was a little starstruck of him when he spoke to him.
You can only think good things about having him as a coach. He’s won it all with Real Madrid and he’s the best person to learn from. I’m sure he’ll be good to me. I think it’ll be the same as Vinicius and I’m going to be slightly scared. Out of respect. That’s what it is; respect.
When Sergio Ramos arrives and tells you what to do at Real Madrid, what will you think?
Respect, so much respect. Ramos forms part of Real Madrid’s history for everything that he’s done for the club and everything that he’s won. He’s a great captain.
What message would you like to send to the [Real Madrid] fans?
You’re getting a boy with tremendous will to win, which is what Real Madrid have done for their entire history. I’m going to give everything for the Real Madrid shirt. I’m living my dream and I’m not going to let anyone down. I hope I’ll be able to give lots of happiness to the Real Madrid fans. I’m going to work hard for it.
Have you set an objective for your first season at Real Madrid?
No, nothing for certain. Let’s see how it goes. I’m thinking of working hard and training at my best from the very first day.
There will be times when you don’t play.
Football’s like that. One day you play, another you don’t, but you have to keep working, without stopping.