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Brazil World Cup star looks unrecognisable as young hopeful posing with idol Neymar when he was at Santos

, Brazil World Cup star looks unrecognisable as young hopeful posing with idol Neymar when he was at Santos

ONE Brazil World Cup star looks unrecognisable as a youngster starting out at Santos.

The kid is posing in a photo alongside childhood hero Neymar during their days at the Brazilian club.

Neymar poses with the mystery pre-teen future Real Madrid and Brazil superstar

They both are decked out in black Santos polo shirts with an arm wrapped around each other and both stick a thumb up.

Neymar left Santos back in 2013 aged 21 in a controversial switch to Barcelona.

And his future Selecao international team-mate – dubbed the ‘next Neymar’ – is nine years younger, making him at most 12 at the time of the photo.

He appears a little awestruck to be snapped with Neymar, barely managing a smile.

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Nine years on, he is a Real Madrid and Brazil hero – and cannot stop smiling.

After joining Real for £40.5million in 2019, he enjoyed his greatest moment in the famous white shirt last season.

He already had a Champions League perfect hat-trick aged 18 and scored crucial goals against Inter Milan in 2020 then Chelsea in the previous round.

He then struck two goals in two minutes – in the 90th and 91st minutes – to somehow claw Real Madrid back from the brink of a semi-final exit in the competition against Manchester City last term.

The ace then went on to win the Champions League as Madrid defeated Liverpool in the final.

And he is now starring at the World Cup for Brazil, who have a quarter-final clash against Croatia approaching on Friday.

The mystery man is, of course, Rodrygo.

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He spent eight years earning his stripes with his boyhood club Santos before that big-money move to Spain, following in the footsteps of Neymar.

But the 21-year-old winger’s 16th and 17th Real Madrid goals in appearance No103 for Los Blancos kept their dreams of a 14th European Cup alive.

Rodrygo is now starring for Brazil at the World Cup
, Brazil World Cup star looks unrecognisable as young hopeful posing with idol Neymar when he was at Santos
Rodrygo has mainly been used as a sub for Neymar

Riyad Mahrez’s superb goal looked to have put City through to back-to-back finals.

But up stepped Rodrygo twice in the closing moments to make it 5-5 on aggregate and force extra-time, where Karim Benzema tucked away the winning penalty.

And the celebrations got even better when he helped Real beat Liverpool in the final for yet another Champions League triumph.

As for Brazil’s World Cup adventure in Qatar, Rodrygo has made an appearance in all four of their games so far.

He even got a start in the shock 1-0 defeat to Cameroon.

And Rodrygo will be hoping to play some part in Friday’s clash against Croatia.

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, Brazil World Cup star looks unrecognisable as young hopeful posing with idol Neymar when he was at Santos
The 21-year-old’s header forced extra-time against Manchester City

, Brazil World Cup star looks unrecognisable as young hopeful posing with idol Neymar when he was at Santos

The Brazilian celebrates on an iconic night for him and Real Madrid in the Champions League

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