Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Brazil teenager Endrick says pressure is off ahead of Argentina duel

Teenage forward Endrick Felipe says that a conversation with Brazil manager Fernando Diniz has left him feeling more at ease in the national squad ahead of Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier against Argentina.

Endrick made his international debut when he was introduced in the final minutes of Brazil’s 2-1 defeat to Colombia in Barranquilla on Thursday.

The Palmeiras player, who will join Real Madrid when he turns 18 in July, hopes to play a greater role for Brazil against the reigning world champions at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana stadium.

“I was a little nervous … but he [Diniz] told me to be happy, to dribble and to enjoy my football,” Endrick said in news conference as quoted by Xinhua.

“That took a big weight off my shoulders. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to play that way in the national team. Now I’m much more relaxed.”

Endrick’s cameo against Colombia made him the fourth youngest player to represent Brazil in an official match. At 17 years and 118 days, he surpassed legendary striker Ronaldo, who made his debut at 17 years and 183 days in 1994.

Pele, at 16 years and 257 days, remains Brazil’s youngest debutant followed by Jonas Americo, better known as Edu, and Antonio Honorio.

When asked how he felt about the prospect of playing against Lionel Messi, Endrick could not hide his enthusiasm.

“Messi is phenomenal,” he said. “I just want to enjoy the moment of being able to play against him, being in the same stadium as him and looking at him up close. I’ve only seen him in video games. It’s going to be wonderful.”

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