At just 18 years of age, Chile’s youngest soccer star, Ángelo Henríquez, is the talk of European football clubs, greedily eyed by Spanish giants Real Madrid and Italy’s Inter Milan.
But despite rumors of multi-million dollar offers, the goal scoring wonderkid appears destined to head to England, thanks to an agreement struck with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, when Henríquez was only 15.
Thanks to that agreement, the “red devils” will have first dibs on the young Chilean striker until 2014. So far, the English club has been allowing Henríquez to mature in the Chilean league, before acting upon its right to sign him.
But given his recent performances for Universidad de Chile as “La U” attempts a third straight Chilean league title and closes in on South America’s club championship, that signing seems imminent.
“The idea of the people of Manchester is that I begin my senior career with “La U,” Henríquez said. “I’ll do my development process here and I go when I have a little more experience.”
And despite the interest of other European clubs, Henríquez is clear about the direction that he would like to take in the next phase of his career.
“Playing for United would be a dream come true, but I know to get there I must work hard and play well here,” he said.
So far, he is doing all that he can to achieve it, earning a starting berth in coach Jorge Sampaoli’s highly rated team – relegating even Peruvian international Raúl Ruidíaz to a bench position – as well as winning the club’s most recent player of the month award.
But despite his enormous footballing potential, Henriquez was almost lost to the game just two years ago.
The Chilean youth international trained at the same club as tennis great Fernando González , and was asked to choose between the two sports by La U officials.
Maybe it was thanks to older brother César “Cuqui” Henríquez, who is the star of Chilean club Palestino, that Ángelo picked football, but whatever the case, Chilean football fans are set to be more than thankful that he did.