REAL’S ‘NEW NEYMAR’ CLAIMS STUNNING EUROPEAN TREBLE
▶ 18-year-old Rodrygo already has Bernabeu fans chanting his name after breathtaking hat-trick
It was the perfect performance, and the perfect hat-trick. To impress the fickle Real Madrid fans enough to chant your name from the terraces is a feat few players get to experience. To do it as an 18-yearold with only a handful of appearances under your belt is breathtaking.
Welcome to the world of the galacticos, Rodrygo. Three goals in Real’s 6-0 demolition of Galatasaray on Wednesday night was some way to announce your arrival.
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane tried to remain calm about the prospect of just how good Rodrygo can be. He’s already been dubbed the ‘new Neymar’ as a testament to his Brazilian upbringing. Now it’s a question of how far he can go.
Rodrygo became the second youngest player to score a Champions League treble, behind only Real legend Raul, and he did it perfectly, finishing with his left foot, his right foot, and a header.
The former Santos striker scored twice within the opening seven minutes at the Bernabeu Stadium – the fastest two goals in Champions League history – and completed his treble in stoppage time to cap a breathtaking evening’s work as the Spanish fans chanted his name.
Outside South America, little was known about the 5’9” youngster – who is the same height as Neymar – before his summer switch to Real. Since then, Rodrygo has scored five times in his first six appearances for the club in all competitions. “Hearing the Bernabeu singing my name is a dream come true,” Rodrygo said. “I’m so happy, it has been a joyous night but I must try and stay calm.”
Zidane said: “We are happy for him because in the end when he gets the chance to play he plays well, and he did so again tonight.
“We know his qualities in attack well, but he also works hard in defence. But we need to keep calm and not put pressure on him. He doesn’t surprise me. He has a bit of everything. He is intelligent, he learns very fast and wants to learn and improve. Physically he has to get better but technically, he knows how to do everything with the ball. He is a first team player. We know exactly what we’re doing with him.”
After scoring the fastest ever league goal by a Real debutant in September – after 94 seconds – he now has his name etched into the European record books too.
Rodrygo needed just four minutes to fire his side in front, with his left foot, and he helped himself to a second just three minutes later with a fine header, full-back Marcelo providing the ammunition on both occasions as Galatasaray were picked off repeatedly at the back.
Their fortunes took a further turn for the worse when, having been invited to review Steve Nzonzi’s challenge on Toni Kroos on the edge of the box by the video assistant referee, German match official Felix Zwayer pointed to the spot.
Ramos resisted the temptation to allow Rodrygo to complete a quick-fire hat-trick, dinking the resulting penalty over keeper Fernando Muslera to make it 3-0.
The Brazilian teenager turned provider on the stroke of halftime, capitalising on yet another error by the Galatasaray rearguard to hand Karim Benzema the simplest of chances to make it 4-0.
Benzema tapped home Dani Carvajal’s 81st-minute cross from point-blank range to complete a personal half-century before Rodrygo completed the rout from the Frenchman’s through-ball with his right foot.
Real Madrid’s Rodrygo scored a hat-trick against Galatasaray at the Santiago Bernabeu