The young striker scored his first Real Madrid goal aged just 18 years and 226 days and Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that he’ll form part of the 2023/24 first-team squad.
Álvaro Rodríguez has just 18 LaLiga Santander minutes to his name, but already the 18-year-old centre-forward has achieved so much. He has provided one assist and scored one goal for Real Madrid, but that only tells half the story. The way he has played and the way he has impressed Carlo Ancelotti means the teenager has already become a legitimate option to start up front for the reigning Spanish and European champions.
Born in Palamós in Catalonia, Álvaro was always destined to become a footballer. He was born in the city where his father Daniel ‘Coquito’ Rodríguez, an Uruguay international, had played as a forward for Palamós CF in Spain’s second division during the latter stages of his career. After coming through the youth academy of nearby Girona FC, Álvaro then made the move to Spain’s capital in 2020 to join Real Madrid’s academy, where he stood out immediately.
Aged 17 years and 102 days, he made his debut under Raúl for Real Madrid Castilla, the capital city club’s B team, and he quickly became a regular starter. After making steady progress under the Spaniard’s tutelage, Ancelotti then decided to bring Álvaro into the first-team dynamic at the start of 2023, giving the striker his debut in a Copa del Rey game at CP Cacereño aged 18 years and 173 days.
The Italian coach was happy with the way Álvaro was working in training and playing when on the pitch and stated that he’d have given the youngster his LaLiga Santander debut soon after. However, Álvaro – who has so far decided to represent Uruguay, the country of his father, at the international level – went away to the 2023 South American U‑20 Championship in January and February. After scoring five goals in seven games there, Álvaro returned to Spain in great form and was able to demonstrate that on the LaLiga Santander stage.
In a Matchday 22 game away at CA Osasuna, he was sent on by Ancelotti with three minutes to go and with Los Blancos 1-0 up. Immediately, Álvaro showed the world his skillset, setting up Vinícius for a goal that was then disallowed because of an offside, before providing an assist that did count for Marco Asensio, with Álvaro winning the ball back himself and then feeding a through ball to the Mallorcan for the 2-0 final score.
The very next week, in Matchday 23, he came off the bench in the Madrid Derby and showed his aerial prowess by heading in the equaliser in the 1-1 draw. At 1.92m, and still growing, Álvaro is dominant in the penalty box and showed this at the Bernabéu, netting his first senior goal for the club aged 18 years and 226 days. In doing so, he followed in the footsteps of his Castilla coach Raúl, who also netted his first goal for the team in a Madrid Derby.
Speaking after that derby draw, Ancelotti stated: “The most positive thing to take from the game was Álvaro’s goal. It’s especially important for him, as he is a young player with a great desire to play for Real Madrid. It’s a special night for him. Next season, Álvaro will form part of the first-team squad. He has qualities that few have. He is powerful and tall and heads the ball well. The plan is that he’ll be with this squad next season and also during this final stretch of this season.”
Ancelotti has put those words into action, as Álvaro has been included in every matchday squad for the first team since the coach made those comments, always coming off the bench but clearly in line for his first start shortly.
The striker is still very much a rising star, as he is only 18 years of age, but already he has earned his place in Real Madrid’s first-team squad, for the rest of this season and 2023/24.