Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo Getty Images

Brazilian sensation Endrick, who is expected to join Real Madrid next year, recently admitted he is a bigger fan of Cristiano Ronaldo than Lionel Messi.

Endrick, who plays for Sao Paulo-based club Palmeiras, has been one of the standout teenage footballers from across the globe and has caught the attention of European giants Real Madrid. The La Liga side have reportedly triggered the £52 million (€60m) release clause in his contract and are expected to land the 17-year-old striker next summer.

For November's international break, Endrick was included in Brazil's senior side for South America's FIFA World Cup qualifiers, becoming the side's youngest player to secure a senior call-up since Ronaldo Nazario in 1994.

The young striker's comments about Messi and Ronaldo came in the lead-up to Brazil's CONMEBOL qualifier meeting with Argentina. Despite the Argentinian skipper now winning the World Cup and a record-extending eighth Ballon d'Or award, Endrick prefers Ronaldo over Messi.

"About Messi, it's phenomenal. Very good, 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 the video game," the Palmeiras star told a press conference.

"Messi is a great player, but I'm more of a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo. Now I'm seeing Messi up close, it's going to be wonderful," added Endrick.

The teenage sensation also added that he has always dreamt of playing for Real Madrid and will be proud to wear the same jersey as Ronaldo. "My dream since I was little, has always been to play for Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo is one of my biggest idols. So it is a great pride to know that I will wear the same shirt he wore," added Endrick.

At 17 years and 118 days, Endrick became the fourth youngest player in history to make his senior debut for the Brazilian national team with his appearance against Colombia, after Pele (16 years and 257 days), Edu (16 years and 303 days), and Coutinho (17 years and 28 days).

Endrick's international debut was not a memorable one as Brazil suffered a shocking 2-1 defeat to Colombia on Nov. 16. His international senior call-up came on the back of a grinding and impressive run last year in Copinha, Brazil's premier under-20 tournament, where he scored six goals and earned the award for best player. Endrick was already playing and scoring goals for Palmeiras' first team before the end of October in 2022.

Last year, Endrick scored three goals in seven appearances for Palmeiras' first team. This year, the Brazilian striker has already netted 12 goals in 49 matches in all competitions.