Real Madrid-bound wonderkid Endrick seals Brazilian league title in his final game for Palmeiras as the 17-year-old nets 11th goal of the season in championship-clinching draw
- Endrick’s goal ensured that Palmeiras were beyond reach in the league title race
- As one youngster rises, a great club falls – Santos were demoted for the first time
- Mauricio Pochettino has so much work to do with woeful Chelsea – It’s All Kicking Off
Endrick will arrive at Real Madrid next summer with title-winning DNA and glory in his blood after firing Palmeiras to the Brazilian league title.
The 17-year-old forward scored to help Palmeiras earn a 1-1 draw at Cruzeiro, which was more than enough to seal a second consecutive title.
He will link up with Real Madrid in a £51million deal next summer and after 18 months of waiting, Los Blancos will have their hands on a talent tipped for the top.
Endrick was Palmeiras’ top goalscorer this campaign with 11 strikes and netted six times in the last eight games as his side succeeded in a six-way title race for the ages.
In the end, Palmeiras didn’t even need a point as both Atletico Mineiro and Flamengo lost on the final day – and they had an 11-goal goal difference buffer to the former anyway.
Endrick will arrive has won two Brazilian league titles in as many seasons with Palmeiras and was their top scorer this season
The 17-year-old celebrated in style after helping Palmeiras seal a point on the last day, which they could have needed but ultimately didn’t
Endrick’s goal, a scrappy finish after winning the ball and having his initial effort saved, came 21 minutes into the game.
It took just seven games last season for him to convince Madrid of his worth and his profile has only rocketed since.
He earned his first Brazil caps in November, coming on in World Cup qualifiers against Colombia and Argentina.
That made him the Selecao’s youngest debutant since Ronaldo Nazario since 1994 and already pundits presage a great career.
A haul of 165 goals in 169 games for Palmeiras’ youth teams showed his raw talent and he has only backed that up since.
It has not been a smooth season at all times for Endrick. His first 35 games saw him produced seven goals and one assist and he admitted he was ‘crucified’ by the press for a perceived lack of output.
It has, on the other hand, been a year of immeasurable highs. After becoming the fourth-youngest player to represent Brazil, he signed a deal with New Balance and will reportedly have a Michael Jordan-style boot brand of his own in future.
There will also be a secondary, more affordable range for those who cannot afford expensive boots as Endrick’s family feel that anybody should be able to afford a pair.
Endrick scored six goals in the final eight league games as Palmeiras emerged victorious from a dramatic title race
The Real Madrid-bound wonderkid recorded a glorious day on a camera as he celebrated
He made his Brazil debut in November, becoming the fourth-youngest player to play for them
Another supposed requirement of the deal will include the 17-year-old visiting communities, renovating football courts, and supporting sports projects.
Ambassadorial weight is already falling on his shoulders, but so far he has handled the pressure immensely with global cameras turning on him.
Palmeiras somehow survived a manic title race.
Botafogo were 14 points clear at one stage and looked destined to seal the trophy but only won two of their last 17 games, throwing away lots of matches from winning positions.
Gremio, powered by 17 goals from Luis Suarez, were runners-up and finished just two points behind Palmeiras but lost two of their last five outings.
Bragantino finished eight points off the pace in sixth but could have been in with a shout had they not lost five of their last seven.
Botafogo won just two of their last 17 games as they threw away a 14-point lead in the title race
Elsewhere in the Brazilian league, it has been a sorry season for Santos, who were relegated for the first time in their history.
Riots erupted on the streets as they dropped into the second tier for the first time in 111 years after a winless five-game run, slipping into the bottom four on the final day.
The eight-time national champions, who boast Pele, Carlos Alberto, and Neymar among their storied alumni, were just one of three teams to have never been relegated alongside Sao Paulo and Flamengo.
Even at half-time on the final day, they were still set to be safe, but ultimately lost 2-1 after conceding a 96th minute goal – though only a win would do as it happened.
They last won the title in 2004 and it will take a long road from here to reclaim their former glories.
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