▶ 18-year-old Rodrygo al­ready has Bern­abeu fans chant­ing his name af­ter breath­tak­ing hat-trick

The National - News - - SPORT - DO­MINIC HART

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

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