A Star Emerges: Rodrygo Leads Brazil's New Generation

Amidst the fervor of high expectations and the weight of leadership, Rodrygo, the rising star of both Real Madrid and Brazil's soccer scene, navigates a journey marked by triumphs

by Sededin Dedovic
A Star Emerges: Rodrygo Leads Brazil's New Generation
© Buda Mendes / Getty Images

There are always high expectations and a lot of pressure for young players playing for big clubs, but for Rodrygo, the Real Madrid and Brazil striker, it's a familiar feeling. At just 23 years old, he has already witnessed a whirlwind career, going from prodigy to leader in a fast-changing national team.

In a short time, he grew into a very reliable player who became an important factor in the game of the royal club. Rodrigo's story is both joy and sadness. He acknowledges the bittersweet passage of time, the realization that his youthful days on the field are fading.

"Time flies and you are both happy and sad at the same time because it will all be over soon." This maturity contrasts with his young age, a testament to the rapid pace at which he has been thrust into the limelight. No longer the youngest in the team, Rodrygo now welcomes a new generation of players into the fold of the Seleção.

"There are times when I think, 'Damn, I'm not the youngest on the team anymore. I can say I'm lucky to have this experience. Even though I'm so young, I'm already treating myself like a mature person and helping the newcomers as much as I can.'

After witnessing the transformation of Brazil's squad after the 2022 World Cup, he is ready to lead the next wave of talent, and there are always plenty of them in Brazil. "There are many players who are in Brazil and will soon come to Europe, despite the fact that I am only 23 years old, I have already experienced a lot and I know how to respond." Pressure has been Rodrygo's constant companion since his arrival at Santos, the legendary Brazilian club that produced Pele and Neymar.

It is one of the biggest clubs in Brazil with a large number of fans and high expectations, which adds to the pressure. "Today I play for the biggest national team in the world and the biggest club in the world. If I don't want the pressure to play for those two, something is wrong." This unwavering desire to win is perfectly in line with the mentality of Real Madrid and the Seleção.

Rodrygo of Real Madrid celebrates their sides second goal scored by Vinicius Junior during the Super Copa de España Final match © Yasser Bakhsh / Getty Images

Rodrygo is a born winner, and everyone who follows Real Madrid could see with what zeal and desire this soccer player plays.

"I always think about winning. That's what I have in my head. I have to win to satisfy the fans of Brazil and Real Madrid." However, the road to success was not without challenges. Rodrygo, like his teammate Vinícius Júnior, was the target of racist abuse.

He describes the incident after the World Cup qualifier against Argentina as a very sad situation. But through legal action, he wanted to send a strong message, even though such outbursts have intensified recently. "People think they can write whatever they want on social media, but then they get sued at home because of it," he says defiantly.

Rodrigo's journey is far from over, he is playing at the top level in an elite club and has definitely not developed his full potential. Already a veteran at Real Madrid with titles in La Liga, a Champions League trophy and over 50 goals to his name, he continues to impress the visitors of the Santiago Bernabéu, but also on the small screen.

His impact alongside Vinícius Júnior saw them overtake legendary Brazilians such as Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos on the Champions League goalscoring charts.

Rodrygo of Real Madrid celebrates scoring his teams fourth goal with teammate Vinicius Junior during the LaLiga EA Sports match © Florencia Tan Jun / Getty Images

Looking ahead to the upcoming friendly against England, a playful rivalry with new teammate Jude Bellingham adds a touch of excitement.

"We talked a lot about the game. We joke with him a lot, saying that Brazil will win, and he replies that England will win." He acknowledges England's strength, placing it "in the top three in the world". Jude Bellingham, who plays with Rodrygo in Real, is currently the best player in the English national team, which is currently no worse than Brazil in terms of the number of young talents.

It can be said that Real Madrid is doing a good job, and it is no coincidence that it has the most Champions League trophies. As Brazil go through a rebuilding period, Rodrygo remains confident. "Our generation is very good and we have a lot of young players with great potential," he emphasizes.

He sees the appointment of Dorival Júnior as a turning point, praising the coach's directness. Junior started a big wave of satisfaction with Brazil, and for a long time there were no more positive reactions to the appointment of a coach in the public.

As he accepts his growing responsibility within the team, Rodrygo understands the weight of expectations and ambitions of Real Madrid and Brazil. "My responsibility is growing. It is a new generation of which I am a part and I can be one of its leaders." Rodrygo is definitely ready to lead Brazil into a new era, but he will have to continue in this rhythm, and he has innate leadership skills.

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