João Paulo Sampaio, director of Palmeiras’ youth teams, has given his take on Manchester United target Endrick and compared his potential to that of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Sampaio gave an extensive interview with Spanish outlet AS amidst the swirling rumours around the prodigious Brazilian talent.
He claims he “went crazy” upon first seeing a 10-year-old Endrick play and lavished praise on the striker’s all-round game even at an early age.
“The way of functioning on the field at that age, his daring, his power in the shot, his speed, his ambition to score goals… We had to sign him whatever it took, and we did. He arrived for the sub 11 category and impressed from the beginning.”
Such was the impression left by Endrick that Palmeiras relocated his family and set his father up with employment – a rare practice in Brazilian football.
And the youngster proved Sampaio right in doing so as he climbed the youth team ladder, in no small part due to his impeccable attitude.
It is an attitude inspired by Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo, Endrick’s idol growing up.
“I don’t see a ceiling for him,” Sampaio said on Endrick’s potential. “As far as it is proposed. He has quality, a strong personality, and a champion mentality.
“In that, he resembles Cristiano. He trains hard, is kind and has humility. We love him very much because he makes himself loved. He tries to please everyone around him.”
While Ronaldo is hardly winning any popularity contests around Old Trafford right now, the status he was able to cultivate over 20 successful years at top-level football make Sampaio’s comparison high praise indeed.
And it does not stop there as Sampaio compares Endrick to a pair of all-time Brazilian greats:
“He looks like Romario and a bit like Ronaldo too. He is left-footed, with a lot of technique, power, and privileged genetics. Physically he is a marvel with a very strong start and a running speed that reaches 36.5 km/h at his age.
“Few players reach that top speed. He is very explosive. In addition, he has always worried about watching videos of important players to improve.”
With a release clause of around £52m in his contract, Man United will need to pay top dollar if they are to give Endrick the chance to follow in the footsteps of his idol.
There is also the matter of competition from Real Madrid, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, and Chelsea to deal with, but Sampaio does see the Red Devils as part of the conversation.
“What I want is to see him happy. He is a player for any great, for Real Madrid, Barça, PSG, Chelsea, United.”