Real Madrid hat-trick hero Rodrygo is the ‘next Neymar’ and was sponsored by Nike age 11.

BLESSED with raw talent, Rodrygo Goes is the latest Brazilian sensation that has got football fans talking.

Last night the £40m Real Madrid teen announced himself to the world with a stunning hat-trick against Galatasaray - with Spanish press labelling him a "Gift from the sky."

 Real Madrid splashed £40m on teen sensation Rodrygo

Real Madrid splashed £40m on teen sensation RodrygoCredit: Getty - Contributor

 Rodrygo announced himself on the world stage in the Champions League

Rodrygo announced himself on the world stage in the Champions LeagueCredit: Getty - Contributor

 A hat-trick against Galatasaray has got the world talking about Rodrygo

A hat-trick against Galatasaray has got the world talking about RodrygoCredit: Getty - Contributor

Only 18, Rodrygo success on the football pitch has been written in the stars since he was 11.

Before he hit his difficult teens, the forward was signed by sports giants Nike - becoming their youngest ever affiliated athlete.

A year before that he was touted as the 'next Neymar' and called the best prospect since Pele, starring in a futsal team for Santos.

Even Brazilian legend Zico declared that the natural talent has "a beautiful future ahead".

WHERE IT BEGAN

Rodrygo was born and raised in the industrial town of Osasco, which lies in the state of Sao Paulo, by a teen mum and dad.

His father Eric was a journeyman footballer, who never played in Brazil's top flight, and concentrated on raising his son from the age of 16.

But it was in New York where sponsors took note of the prodigy in full flow.

 Rodrygo was sponsored by Nike by the age of 11

Rodrygo was sponsored by Nike by the age of 11Credit: Instagram @rodrygogoes

 Rodrygo was raised by a teen mum and dad

Rodrygo was raised by a teen mum and dadCredit: Instagram @rodrygogoes

 Rodrygo's dad Eric, pictured alongside Pele, played second division football in Brazil

Rodrygo's dad Eric, pictured alongside Pele, played second division football in BrazilCredit: Instagram @rodrygogoes

Representing Santos in a tournament Stateside, his breathless skill meant he stood out from the crowd.

Marketing executives at Nike immediately saw dollar signs and signed Rodrygo up, making him their youngest ever athlete before he had reached the age of 12.

Even the great Neymar had to wait till he was 13 before the sports brand came a calling.

NATURAL ABILITY

His ability defied his years, and like the PSG star, he played for Santos' Under 13 team with kids that were much older than him and didn't look out of place.

He was their top scorer with 20 goals, as Santos became the Sao Paulo state champions.

At the age of 14, Rodrygo was named as the best player of the Copa Nike tournament, and his rapid rise had Zico purring.

"Rodrygo boasts a lot of technical quality, ability and plays for the team," he revealed after seeing him star for Santos' Under 15s.

 At youth level, Rodrygo starred for Santos

At youth level, Rodrygo starred for SantosCredit: Instagram @rodrygogoes

 Coaches at Santos called him the 'next Neymar'

Coaches at Santos called him the 'next Neymar'Credit: Instagram @rodrygogoes

 At the age of 16 Rodrygo made his debut for Santos

At the age of 16 Rodrygo made his debut for SantosCredit: Getty Images - Getty

In 2017, Rodrygo made his debut for the Brazilian giants, but was limited to just two appearances in the league.

However, a year later he exploded onto the scene - playing 58 times in all competitions and bagging 12 goals and four assists.

He was awarded the Campeonato Paulista Best Newcomer trophy, and Europe's top clubs took note.

Even France Football magazine, famous for awarding the Ballon d'Or, claimed Rodrygo was the fourth best young player in the world under 21 in a poll in December.

Third was Justin Kluivert, Chelsea's new recruit Christian Pulisic came second and Kylian Mbappe was the obvious winner, so he was in great company.

PRIVATE LIFE

Off the pitch, Rodrygo lives a quiet life and his parents, who are in their mid-thirties, welcomed a baby girl to their family last year.

The Los Blancos latest superstar loves sharing affectionate images and video of the new addition on his Instagram page, including celebrating his sister's 1-year-old birthday.

 Rodrygo's mum, dad and baby sister were at his unveiling in Madrid

Rodrygo's mum, dad and baby sister were at his unveiling in MadridCredit: AFP OR LICENSORS

 Rodrygo clearly dotes on his little sister

Rodrygo clearly dotes on his little sisterCredit: Instagram

 Family means everything to Rodrygo

Family means everything to RodrygoCredit: Instagram

He emergece at the Bernabeu comes with the club in a transition period, and competition high alongside the likes of Eden Hazard.

But club president Florentino Perez is adamant that Real Madrid have signed "one of the great prodigies."

"Our strategy is always about finding emerging talent, incorporating young players who want to mark an era in Real Madrid," Perez said at a press conference for Rodrygo's unveiling, before demanding maximum effort from his new investment.

However, Rodrygo remained calm and remembered how he had got so far.

"I want to thank firstly God for everything he's done for me and my family. All my family have fought with me," he said.

"Thanks to the president and all the fans. I hope to give a lot of happiness to you. Hala Madrid."

With his performance in the Champions League, it looks like the fuss is certainly justified.

 There's a lot of pressure on Rodrygo to deliver at Real Madrid

There's a lot of pressure on Rodrygo to deliver at Real MadridCredit: Getty - Contributor

 Real Madrid's club president Florentino Perez expects big things from Rodrygo after a £40m outlay

Real Madrid's club president Florentino Perez expects big things from Rodrygo after a £40m outlayCredit: Getty - Contributor

 Will Rodrygo be a success at Los Blancos? Time will tell

Will Rodrygo be a success at Los Blancos? Time will tellCredit: Rex Features

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