Rodrygo scored a sensational hat-trick and the fastest two goals in Champions League history on Wednesday. – Photo marca.com
MADRID — Rodrygo scored a sensational hat-trick and the fastest two goals in Champions League history on Wednesday as Real Madrid humiliated Galatasaray 6-0.
The 18-year-old had his double after just six minutes and 14 seconds at the Santiago Bernabeu before teeing up Karim Benzema to make it four, after Sergio Ramos had chipped in a penalty.
Benzema then added a fifth late in the second half, leaving Rodrygo to complete his incredible treble in injury-time.
"He doesn't surprise me," said Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane. "He has a bit of everything. He is intelligent, he learns very fast and wants to learn and improve.
"Physically he has to get better but technically, he knows how to do everything with the ball."
Madrid's emphatic victory means they are virtually qualified from Group A, sitting five points ahead of Club Brugge, even if Paris Saint-Germain who are top look certain to claim first place.
It means Zidane's side will likely be at the mercy of the draw when it comes to the last 16 but that is their punishment for a miserable opening defeat in Paris and an equally dispiriting draw at home to Brugge.
Yet the knock-out stages are far away and Rodrygo is the man of the moment.
After scoring the fastest ever league goal by a Real debutant in September - a sumptuous control and finish after 94 seconds - he now has his name etched into the European record books too.
"Today my dream came true," Rodrygo said.
"He's not afraid," said Benzema. "He enjoys the ball and I love a player that plays like that."
Benzema made his own piece of history by equalling and then surpassing Alfred di Stefano's 49 European Cup goals but the way he hoisted Rodrygo to celebrate his first suggested he knew this was the teenager's night.
When club president Florentino Perez presented Rodrygo to the fans last summer, he said they had signed one of the world's "great prodigies", a year after Vinicius Junior had also arrived from Flamengo.
Determined to avoid a repeat of losing out on Neymar to Barcelona, Madrid flooded Brazil with scouts, each of them instructed to find the next young gems.
They found Vinicius, who excelled last season but has struggled since the arrival of Eden Hazard, and Rodrygo, who stayed at Santos for a year before finally joining in June.
He was supposed to be introduced gradually to the senior team by playing first for Castilla, the club's B team, and there was confusion earlier this season when one weekend he turned out for neither.
"He is a first team player," Zidane said. "We know exactly what we're doing with him." – AFP