He is only 18, but everyone is talking about it in the USA: attacker Ricardo Pepi recently caused a sensation with the national team and in the MLS at FC Dallas. Now the youngster is apparently about to jump to Germany. But what makes Pepi so special?
A new high-speed train is rushing through the USA: The “Ricardo Pepi Hype Train” – illustrated with the likeness of the young shooting star as the figurehead of a locomotive. When the US national team played against Jamaica, his family even brought such a banner with them.
“We took the train in El Paso,” it read. The city in the south of the US state of Texas directly on the border with Mexico is the home of Ricardo Pepi. At the age of 13 he left his hometown to switch to the youth academy of FC Dallas and there to realize his dream of being a professional footballer.
“I was forced to be very mature from a young age,” said Pepi at the end of July SPOX and goal. “It was a big risk. Nothing is guaranteed at the academy, not even that you will later become a professional footballer, but I knew that I really wanted to. I knew that one day I wanted to become a professional footballer.”
In the MLS, Pepi shot himself into the limelight with 13 goals in 27 games for FC Dallas this season. In September the striker was nominated by Gregg Berhalter for the first time for the US national team – and scored one goal on his debut against Honduras (4-1) on September 9 and prepared two more.
Ricardo Pepi makes history with a double for USA
Numerous top European clubs are also said to have jumped on the bandwagon. Juventus, Ajax Amsterdam, Fiorentina or Bologna FC were traded as potential buyers. Pepi has also been associated with FC Bayern Munich.
In February of this year, as part of a cooperation with FC Dallas, he completed a trial training session with the German record champions together with Justin Che, among others. In 2018, Chris Richards (currently awarded to TSG Hoffenheim) was a Dallas talent who found his way from Texas to Bayern. “This campus is great, it has everything you need to be successful as a player. It’s a great campus,” said Pepi at the time.
But his future apparently lies with a Bundesliga competitor.
According to MLS reporter Chris Smith, VfL Wolfsburg is said to be from 90min.com agree on a move with representatives of the US talent. Negotiations between VfL and FC Dallas, where Pepi is still under contract until 2026, are still pending.
In any case, Pepi himself made no secret of his big dreams in the end. “I would like to play for Real Madrid one day,” he said in an interview with TyC Sports. But what does this 18-year-old bring with him that he already thinks on such a large scale?
Gonzalez first saw Pepi in action when he was 12. “He was taller than everyone else,” said Gonzalez, describing Pepi as an “early physical developer:” He was tall and lanky. And he towered over everyone. “At 1.85 meters, Pepi is not exactly a giant today.
During his football training Gonzalez came up with something special for Pepi’s support. “When he was U13 and U14 we used him in different positions. We let him play in central midfield and even in central defense because he scored too many goals. He scored five goals and we thought that was him that doesn’t help in his development, “explained the 41-year-old.
Pepi: Ex-Dallas trainer explains the strengths
According to his own statement, Pepi has already been compared with BVB striker Erling Haaland or Bayern’s world footballer Robert Lewandowski. Haaland in particular serves as a role model for his style of play, as did Pepi SPOX and goal stated: “One of the most important things I look at is the runs he makes, his passes, his moves in the box. Those are his strengths so I try to watch his moves and see him make a way finds to escape the defenders. “
During his visit to Munich in February, he already learned that Pepi’s possible path to Germany is also a great challenge. Football is more technical, Pepi said at the time: “The passing game is shorter and faster.” But the leader of the “Ricardo Pepi Hype Train” is very familiar with the high speed.