Rodrygo Goes was approached by Liverpool before Real Madrid secured his signing from Santos in a €45m deal.
Former Brazil international midfielder Elano made the revelation on Thursday with Rodrygo in the spotlight following a sensational Champions League hat-trick against Galatasaray.
Rodrygo netted the treble for Los Blancos in Wednesday’s 6-0 win and has netted two La Liga goals – against Osasuna and Leganes – in just two league starts for the club.
He is the first player born in the 21st century to score in the competition and already looks at home in Madrid’s starting line-up despite still being aged just 18, having been born in January 2001.
Rodrygo has also earned his first call-up to the senior Brazil international squad this month and his rise to prominence has been remarkable, following summer reports he would be loaned out by Madrid this summer.
Indeed, he started the campaign in Madrid’s Castilla team but he now established himself as a regular part of an attacking trident alongside Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard.
“There was a very strong interest of Liverpool for the boy when he was in the lower categories and they wanted to go, but the offer was too low,” according to Elano – a former coach at Santos – who previously played for Manchester City and Shakhtar Donestk, as cited by Diario AS.
“Then came the offer from Madrid. I had a talk with the club and told them it was worth betting on the boy and that I would like to work with him.
“He already had that ability at a very young age. There are very few players that are so young who show such maturity and a personality that in football is already formed.
“He has many technical resources and great control of his movements. That is why his progression to the first team of Santos was not delayed.
“He is very calm and aware he has more responsibilities, but I am sure he will be a success.”