Madrid-bound Endrick prefers Ronaldo over Messi

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Real Madrid-bound wonderkid Endrick has said he is more of a Cristiano Ronaldo fan than Lionel Messi ahead of his Brazil team’s World Cup qualifier against Argentina.

Palmeiras striker Endrick, 17, made his Brazil debut in a 2-1 defeat at Colombia on Thursday and is expected to play against Messi’s Argentina at the Maracana on Tuesday.

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“Messi is a great player, but I’m more of a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo,” Endrick said.

Endrick, who will join Ronaldo’s former club Madrid when he turns 18 in July 2024, is nevertheless thrilled to face eight-time Ballon d’or winner Messi.

“Messi is phenomenal,” Endrick said. “He’s very good, the best in the world again. I just want to enjoy the moment of being able to play against him, being in the same stadium as him, looking at him up close. I only saw him in video games. Now I’m seeing Messi up close, it’s going to be wonderful.”

Meanwhile, Portugal head coach Roberto Martinez said he is not surprised that Ronaldo still has so many admirers. The Al Nassr forward finished as Portugal’s top scorer with 10 goals in their perfect Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

“It’s difficult for me to explain how a player who is 38 years old and has more caps than any other player in the world, has the hunger of an 18-year-old player,” Martinez said of Ronaldo after Sunday’s 2-0 win against Iceland — Portugal’s 10th straight victory in qualifying.

“He is a force that infects others in the locker room,” Endrick said. “A player who always tries to be in the right position, who likes to score, but has a lot of team discipline. He’s an example in the dressing room, it’s great to have a player with his experience.”

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