What Real Madrid fans need to know about transfer target Matheus Nascimento

Botafogo, Matheus Nascimento (Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images)
Botafogo, Matheus Nascimento (Photo by Alexandre Loureiro/Getty Images) /

Madridistas are gearing up for another Brazilian teenager set to join the ranks of Real Madrid as an 18-year-old Botafogo striker made the front cover of Saturday’s Diario AS. 

Real Madrid’s lead scout, Juni Calafat is reportedly following Matheus Nascimento and is already stepping up his pursuit to bring yet another teenage sensation to the club after securing the services of Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo, and Reinier Jesus.

The Madrid scout has the perfect credential to secure the services of the teenage striker as previously, he played an enormous role in signing Eder Militao, Vinicius Jr., Rodrygo, and Reinier Jesus.


Given his youth, Nascimento is yet to establish himself as a regular starter for the Brasileiro Serie A team, coming off the bench and playing a cameo most of the time this season.

He started to impress by featuring regularly for his regional league, the Campeonato Carioca during the early phases of the season – scoring 5 goals and registering an assist across 9 games in the competition.

Should Nascimento be bought this season by Real Madrid, he would follow the footsteps of his fellow countrymen – Rodrygo, Vini Jr. before and will have to undergo rigorous training before he receives a ticket for first-team football.

“He is a very calm boy, very homely,” his mother, Katyane, told UOL in 2019. “We talk a lot with him and he deals very well with everything that has been happening.

“He is a very smart boy who just likes to play football and games.”

It is certain that his family wanted Nascimento to have fun playing football and didn’t expect the interest from European clubs which have been regular since 2019. However, his talent and the proficiency he shows at the final-thirds of the pitch are noteworthy – the reason behind the interest from Real Madrid and other clubs around Europe.

Botafogo sees the teenage prodigy as part of their team for times to come and this has been further reinstated by the club’s academy general manager, Tiano Gomes, as he told UOL:

"“Botafogo sees Matheus Nascimento as an asset. He is a boy who has been standing out for the club and who has been a starter and top scorer for the Brazil youth sides,”“He is a high-potential athlete, but he has a long way to go. We need to be calm, obeying the athlete’s natural development.”"

Though Nascimento suffered indecent times with Botafogo as the club endured relegation from first-division football soon after he made his professional debut in 2020 for a brief cameo against Corinthians, he still stood out with his performances for the team in the Brazilian Serie A.

In December 2021, Botafogo’s football director Eduardo Freeland quoted the player in his interview with Globo Esporte where he stated:

"“Enderson (Moreira, Botafogo’s manager) loves the player, he thinks he’s above average,”“We discussed a lot when it would be best for him (Matheus Nascimento) to play for the Under-20s, and when it would be better for him to stay with the first team. We treated this year as a transition.”"

Botafogo in recent times has made it clear that Nascimento is an ‘asset’ to the club and they want him to follow the development plan as laid out by the club’s training experts, going to the extent of rejecting a €23 million bid from an undisclosed European team back in May 2021.

Matheus Nascimento’s playing style and strengths

Often dubbed the ‘Brazilian Edinson Cavani’, he possesses a very distinct playing style and it does not come close to that of his Uruguayan idol while having a resemblance to his stature and hairstyle.

Nascimento prides himself in his movement in the final thirds of the pitch; playing the role of a number 10 as he draws attention by dropping a bit from attack and creating space for his teammates.

Instead of quoting him as a striker, his playing style represents one similar to that of a centre-forward. His main strength lies in using his body effectively as he creates the space and finishes precisely – an ability which is hard to find in teenagers (even Vinicius had to work on his finishing abilities for a year to slowly improve it).

What will be his role at Real Madrid?

As stated earlier, if Real signs him this summer, the only role he will get is to be a part of the Castilla team for the time being. He won’t be a starter all at once considering the likes of Latasa, Gudjohnsen, and Rodriguez competing heavily for the starting role.

For now, he would be a Castilla squad player, occasionally featuring, especially coming off the bench and playing a cameo just as his role with Botafogo now.

The player contains huge potential and Real have enjoyed some ‘good luck’ betting for teenage Brazilian players over the years.

Matheus is thought to be valued at €7m but Botafogo installed a release clause of €50m in the first professional contract they gave him in 2020. And Botafogo only owns 60% of the player’s rights, with the player owning 30% and the Trops Youth Development Centre, based in Niteroi, owning 10%. His contract runs until the summer of 2023 – according to Football Espana.

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The €50m release seems a bit much for any club to trigger at this time, also considering the Brazilian’s promising but not substantial credentials. However, Juni Calafat is expected t work behind the scenes to secure the signing as soon as possible before Nascimento attracts too much attention from other European competitors.