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Spain or Brazil, that is Rodrigo´s choice

17 April 2013 15:47

The biggest conundrum facing rising Benfica star Rodrigo is whether to represent Brazil or Spain.

Rodrigo was born in Rio de Janeiro, but left Brazil as a teenager with his family for Spain, where he began playing football for Celta de Vigo.

His father Adalberto Machado was a star for Flamengo in the 1980s and represented Brazil but for Rodrigo, it appears his adopted homeland has won out.

"The fact that I've lived for so long, people from Brazil do not know me, because I've never played there," the 22-year-old said.

"Since I moved to Spain, I feel very good in the country, despite not being born there but I have lived most of my life in Spain.

"They received me very well and I am very proud to be able to represent them."

Rodrigo has already represented Spain at youth level and has certainly made an impact scoring 14 goals in 12 appearances for the under 21 side, including four in one match against Denmark.

Now his challenge is to break into the senior Spanish team, a feat easier said than done.

"Spain is currently the best team in the world," he said.

"They have the world's best players in all positions.

"There are many players who are not regulars in the Spanish national team, but they would be in any other team in the world. This makes it even harder to get in the team, but this did not pose any kind of fear or pressure.

"I feel more motivated and I know that if I ever get there it is because I will be among the world's best players."

At club level, Rodrigo has been turning heads in Portugal, netting 11 goals in all competitions this season as Benfica charge towards a league-cup double.

Experience at Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid and a season on loan at Bolton in the English Premier League helped to hone the youngster's considerable talents.

He is being linked with a move back to England, but he seems content to stay put for now.

"Every player has dreams of playing in the Premier League," he added. "I had the luck of doing so and honestly do not know what will happen in the future, but I'm not thinking about going back."

Whatever happens, it's certain this will not be the last we hear from Rodrigo.


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