It’s been a tactic that has worked brilliantly for Real Madrid so far.
Get themselves to South America and sign some of the best young players the continent has to offer.
Vinicius Junior has been a rip-roaring success, Rodrygo Goes scored a perfect Champions League hat-trick last season and now Reinier is the latest Brazilian sensation to join Los Blancos.
His path to Santiago Bernabéu greatness is going to be via the scenic route though, with the 18-year-old having joined Borussia Dortmund on a two-year loan.
We spoke exclusively to the teenage sensation about a whirlwind few months, life with the Bundesliga giants and his new Puma Ultra boots.
OneFootball: Was a loan already a possibility when you moved to Real Madrid? Did they encourage you to find a club where you could play more or it was a personal decision?
Reinier: The offer came to Real Madrid and also to me. When we knew it was Borussia Dortmund we got excited because it’s a great club. Even in Brazil, we think that Dortmund is a great club for a young player to develop when moving from Brazil to Europe. When we had this offer from Dortmund and I didn’t think twice.
OF: There are some great young players here in Dortmund: Sancho, Haaland, Reyna. Did you also think about that when you had the offer?
Reinier: Yes, they are all great players. Even being young, they have been playing in the first team for a long time. It’s something really important.
OF: Have you talked to them?
Reinier: Of course. I talk to them all but not very well because of the language. With Gio [Reyna] I can talk more because he speaks a bit of Spanish. But I want to improve step by step to talk more with everyone.
OF: And Sancho? What are your first impressions of him?
Reinier: We had a few training sessions together but I could see how special he is. He’s skilled, fast, with a very powerful finish. He’s totally different. I could see it here already. I’m sure he will be one of the top players in the world.
OF: You had a little injury and missed the first pre-season game at Dortmund…
Reinier: Yes, I did but I’ve already recovered. When I arrived they decided to wait until I could get as fit as possible. Now I have done four training sessions with the whole team already and I’m feeling really good.
OF: Your life had a few changes over the past few months. You won titles with Flamengo, then moved to Real Madrid, now starting at Dortmund. Have you stopped to think about everything that has happened to you?
Reinier: Yes, I’ve thought about it a lot. These few months have been full of joy. I left Flamengo to play for Real Madrid and learned a lot there, on and off the pitch. Now I have arrived at this incredible club that has welcomed me so well.
OF: Are you feeling prepared to play in Europe already? Have the Brazilian guys from Real Madrid helped you?
Reinier: They helped me a lot, on and off the pitch. My Spanish made everything easier. I have a positive relationship with all the players and now I feel I’m prepared and want to learn everyday to give my best.
OF: There are no Brazilian players here in Dortmund at the moment, just Raphaël Guerreiro that speaks Portuguese, and Axel Witsel, that also knows the language. Is that going to be a challenge?
Reinier: The communication is hard but it’s normal for now. Guerreiro and Witsel are always helping me with the language, teaching me what the coach is talking about. But I will start to understand little by little.
OF: What do you think you can still improve in your game?
Reinier: Everything. Tactically and technically I have a lot to improve. Tactics are very important [here in Europe]. Physically I also have to do better, I didn’t play during the last six months. I’m sure I’ll improve everything here at Dortmund: physically, tactically and my technique too.
OF: You always say Kaká is your idol, that he inspires you. Is his career one that you would like to follow? Best player in the world, success in Europe and with the national team …
Reinier: I have no doubt about it. He’s a great guy and a great player. My idol. And he inspires me. He came from Brasília, like I did. So I hope to follow his steps because he was extraordinary. Best player in the world, he won everything. He’s an inspiration. There’s not much more I could say. He’s my idol, we already talked to each other, he gave me advice and showed me how amazing he is.
OF: You also have some new boots for the upcoming season. What can you say about Puma Ultra?
Reinier: I have been training in them for the past few days. These boots are very good, comfortable, and beautiful. It’s a new version of the Ultra and I hope to score many goals and play a lot in them.
OF: How can the boots affect the game? Their influence is huge, right?
Reinier: To me they have a huge influence. It’s the tool we use to work, and we need to be happy and feel comfortable using them. You need it to feel great when you’re on the pitch.