There is a new superstar in Spain after Brazilian wonderkid Rodrygo netted a Champions League hat-trick this week.

He scored three times for Real Madrid against Galatasaray to announce himself on the big stage at the age of just 18.

A big future lies ahead, and it could have been with Manchester United.

The youngster dubbed the ‘next Neymar’ agreed a move last year which went through this summer and now he is part of Real’s first team squad.

United let the man responsible for helping to sign him slip through the club’s fingers.

(Photo by Denis Doyle – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Scouting miss

In March 2017 The Mail reported that United hired Brazilian scout Paulo Henrique Xavier.

Brazilian newspaper UOL reported seven months later that Henrique had left United to take up a new role at Real Madrid.

Marca reported months later that Henrique played a crucial role in scouting and helping recommend Rodrygo to Real Madrid.


The Spanish giants spent £40 million to sign him and right now that investment could be a bargain.

The Mail reported in 2018 that United had eventually checked on Rodrygo, but by that time Real Madrid’s scout Paulo Henrique Xavier had already worked his magic, with AS reporting he was responsible for the Spanish club’s deal.


It is more Real Madrid’s style to take a gamble and pay big money for a young Brazilian talent than United’s, see their previous deal for Vinicius Jr.

That’s one of the differences. Real had a clearly defined transfer strategy. In 2018 United didn’t appear to have one at all.

United just have to hope that Rodrygo does not turn out to become one of the world’s best players, or it really will seem as though we have missed out.

Ed Woodward recently boasted he is proud of the club’s new scouting set up, but have been clear inadequacies over the past few seasons.

Letting go of the man who helped sign Rodrygo for Real Madrid sums up our transfer business over the past few seasons.

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