The greatest football contract in the history of Brazil closed on Thursday as Endrick Felipe’s family, Real Madrid, and Palmeiras announced at 11am that they had reached a final agreement.
At precisely the time the statement was released, Endrick Felipe’s family was on the phone with Silas Eduardo Severino, his early trainer before he went into the Palmeiras base team, and one of the people crucial in his development. Soon, the phone was passed to Endrick. “Indeed, it is a beautiful time for everyone involved with Endrick,” said Silas of the moment, to THE WEEK.
THE WEEK had featured Endrick Felipe on the cover in the issue dated October 16, 2022.
“Real Madrid is the greatest club in the world, the winningest club in Europe,” added Silas. “It is a place where stars shine. Endrick has had that calling, a destiny to be shining with the stars. Who would not dream of such an accomplishment by someone you love?”
Douglas de Sousa Silva Ramos, Endrick’s father, inspiration, and career strategist, too, spoke with Silas, as the two men so instrumental in forging the child talent into one of football’s greatest promises, looked back at the road travelled and ahead, to the choices and perils in a world at Endrick Felipe’s feet, Silas told THE WEEK.
Ramos is Endrick's representative and the principal architect of his rise from the dusty football fields of the great central savannahs of Brazil’s Cerrado to the top of the football world in just 16 years.
“We can’t wait to see him in that Real Madrid jersey. We have great expectations to see him playing with Vinicius Junior, with Rodrygo. We know he will give the world a lot to talk about, and many positive results in the future. Great expectations, great joy,” said Silas.
“Today is a day of happiness, the coming together in concrete of something that we once only imagined that could happen,” said Fabio Rodrigues dos Santos, Endrick Felipe’s early mentor and the person who saw the jewel in him when his father brought him to his football school at the age of 4. Waiving the minimum age of 6 requirement, Fabio took Endrick into the school and under his wing, supporting him, getting him the training, competition, and experience, and eventually getting him to Palmeiras.
“Who would have imagined it would happen so early,” said Fabio. “At 16, with the greatest club in the world. This brings immense pride and happiness to all of us, to know that someone we backed, helped, and supported has made it.
“For him, it is a greater responsibility on his shoulders, a continued quest to reach what he has dreamed of. It was his destiny,” said Fabio.
“May God's purposes in his life continue so that he can continue to feel like a player that he always was and that through him others may be blessed. Now to the top and conquer the world.”
The news of Endrick Felipe’s big contract to European football impacted Brazil across all levels of society.
In the town of Valparaiso de Goias, where he first turned heads playing in its streets as a 3-year-old, lives Rosa Cristina Nunez de Oliveira, 40. She was overcome with pride, telling THE WEEK in Brasilia the dignity and honour she felt, “to have a person who grew up where you live, reach so high in life. An inspiration. Happiness for everyone”.
“Young players are inspired by Endrick’s brilliant path,” said Cleitinho Moraes, former player for Fluminense of São Paulo and internationally. “It is motivaion to both professional players and new generations.”
Real Madrid made the announcement with a large splash of Endrick Felipe’s image on its website. Palmeiras, for their part, ran on their website a large picture, his father and little brother along with Palmeiras president Leila Pereira president and attorney Laura León Morín of Real Madrid.
“[Endrick Felipe] travels to Madrid in the next few days to visit our club's facilities,” said Real Madrid in its announcement.
The €72 million contract is among Real Madrid's most expensive acquisitions. Real Madrid paid €76 million for James Rodriguez, €79 million for Zinedine Zidane, €95 million for Cristiano Ronaldo, €101 million for Gareth Bale, and €116 million for Eden Hazard.
The 16-year-old sensation will continue playing for Palmeiras and join Real Madrid when he reaches 18, in July 2024.
“Real Madrid will do a lot of good for him, and he will do a lot of good for Real Madrid. I believe it will be a beautiful story, a story of great results and conquests because we are talking about a player who had a hunger, a hunger, a hunger to win, a hunger for victories,” said trainer Silas.
“A day of the realisation of a player who reached so high, who can contribute so much to the world, who I knew as a runny-nosed child. I am so happy to see what we and other people who trained him was a seed that is now bearing fruit. Today is one of the happiest days of my life,” added Silas, one of the men instrumental in the rise of Endrick Felipe.
“It was his destiny,” said Fabio, the early mentor.