Endrick on course to join Real Madrid - but FIFA rules may delay move until 2024

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Brazilian teenager Endrick has already decided to join Real Madrid from Palmeiras, 90min has been told - but the Spanish giants face a battle to get him over to Europe before his 18th birthday.

Interest in the 15-year-old has been nothing short of staggering, with every major club in world football making regular trips to South America to see a player that many in Brazil are calling a 'generational' talent.

90min understands that Endrick ended up choosing between Real Madrid and Barcelona, although he did also have interest from the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Paris Saint Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Porto and Benfica.

And sources have confirmed that Endrick has made the decision to play in the Spanish capital for a club he has long considered to be his favourite team.

However, he won't be able to join Real Madrid until 2024 - when he turns 18 - under current FIFA regulations, which are designed to ensure young players have a stable environment around them before making an international transfer.

The rules are different if players are transferring between countries within the EU, providing the player comes from a member nation, but as Endrick is Brazilian Real Madrid will need to apply for an exemption or wait until his 18th birthday.

Why can't Real Madrid sign Endrick now?

"The default position is that a player must be 18 until he can be transferred abroad," leading sports lawyer and partner at Leathes Prior, Dan Chapman, who has worked on similar deals, told 90min.

"FIFA maintain that this rule is required so that minors have a stable environment to train and complete education and to avoid abuse - prior to this rule being in place there was a concern that young players could be transferred abroad and, if they did not do well, could simply be abandoned and left alone without assistance.

"There have been a number of attempts by clubs to sign players by constructing a relocation for the parents which they claim is not football related. If the parents had particular careers (for example) - let’s say they were doctors - and both happened to be offered jobs in Madrid hospitals, it might be possible to create a narrative that says the parents relocated for work reasons.

"When the transfer is being proposed, a pack of evidence has to be filed with FIFA to prove the basis upon which the parents moved. In my experience it has become a lot harder in the last few years to persuade FIFA that the move was not football related; a few years ago there were numerous cases where minors seemed to be getting though based on rather flimsy cases."

The fact Real Madrid are so keen to sign Endrick is no surprise given Florentino Perez vowed not to miss out on promising South American talent, particularly players from Brazil, after failing to sign Neymar ahead of rivals Barcelona in 2013.

The last decade has seen Real complete deals for the likes of Casemiro, Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr, and while they have been good deals, Endrick looks like being the exceptional talent that Perez has been waiting for - highly regarded chief scout Juni Calafat having given his approval to pursue a deal.

Endrick turns 16 in July and it is believed that Palmeiras are considering letting him play first-team football before that date. Sources close to the club have told 90min they believe that they will not have any qualms about him playing - despite his tender years.

Palmeiras have plans to hand him his first contract in July, but 90min understands that it is accepted within the club that Endrick is heading to Madrid, with the main question being when rather than if.

The question of when is a huge one as Real Madrid want the player to move to Europe as soon as possible, which FIFA currently will not allow.

Nevertheless, Real believe a deal can be hammered out having already spoken to Endrick's family. Indeed, he has already been a guest of the club in recent weeks, with his father posting images on Instagram of their trip to Spain.