Real Madrid striker Alvaro Rodriguez is the new talk of Spanish football. But as revealed this week, FC Barcelona overlooked and rejected the half-Catalan sensation when he was right under their noses.
Brought off the bench by manager Carlo Ancelotti for the second La Liga matchday running, Alvaro went one better than last week against Osasuna when he immediately provided an assist for Vinicius Jr that was ruled out and followed it up by setting up Marco Asensio on the next play.
With Los Blancos on the verge of losing a first home derby against Atletico Madrid since 2014 following a Jose Gimenez header, Ancelotti took a punt on the youngster once more which proved to a be a master stroke. Alvaro equalized within minutes through his own aerial strike, and came close to connecting with another cross in quick succession.
Even though the 1-1 draw was a major slip up for Madrid, who can fall 10 points behind Barca in the title race if Xavi’s men beat Almeria on Sunday afternoon, their president Florentinto Perez may have had the last laugh in the transfer market for snatching Rodriguez away.
As revealed by SPORT, Barca could have easily signed the imposing 1.93m hit man. Raised in Girona 60 miles from the Catalan capital, by a Catalan mother and Uruguayan father, he was scouted by the town’s local team as an 11-year-old.
When he was around 15 playing for Girona in the Cadet category, scouts alerted Barca to Alvaro who ultimately overlooked him due to the player still lacking co-ordination and “Barca DNA”.
Madrid then came in for the boy, who didn’t hesitate to make the switch to the Spanish capital with both he and his father fans of the 14-time Champions League winners.
It is bad enough that Barca routinely miss out on Brazilian pearls of tomorrow to Perez – namely Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo, and Endrick in recent times – but to be outfoxed in Catalonia is the ultimate insult.
This is is particularly disturbing at a time when Barca lack an heir to Luis Suarez as Robert Lewandowski, 34, is starting to look his age since returning from the World Cup with Poland.
Barca still have hopes of landing Vitor Roque for a fee believed to be between €35-40mn ($37-42mn), however, and the Brazilian recently finished the top scorer of the South American U20 championships where his country beat Alvaro’s, Urugauy, in the final.