The 17-year-old enjoyed a sensational first season in the Spanish capital and has been already being earmarked for big things
When your father represented Barcelona with distinction, making the decision to leave Catalunya behind to represent Real Madrid has been a major step.
But that has been exactly what Andri Gudjohnsen – son of former Barca forward Eidur – did during the summer of 2018, and if his first season in the Spanish capital has been anything to go by then he has been destined to follow in his dad’s footsteps of representing some of Europe’s most prestigious clubs.
Born in London in 2002 while his father was plying his trade for Chelsea, Gudjohnsen took his first steps into academy football at the age of eight. While Eidur was helping Pep Guardiola’s senior Barcelona side to domestic and European success, Andri was beginning his football education in the shadows of Camp Nou.
He spent three years with the Blaugrana before moving on to low-level Catalan club Gava. From there he was snapped up by Espanyol, for whom he played for three further campaigns before Madrid came knocking on the door shortly after Gudjohnsen’s 16th birthday.
Goal has learned that the Blancos did all they could to tempt Gudjohnsen across Spain, meeting with the teenager personally as well as offering to move his family – including younger brother Dani, who was enrolled into the ‘Infant B’ team – to Madrid. There were other offers, but Gudjohnsen was unlikely to have his head turned once the then-reigning European champions came calling.
Given his family connections the news made some headlines across the continent, but few would have expected the sensational campaign that Gudjohnsen has enjoyed during his first 12 months as a Madridista.
Playing for Madrid’s Under-17 side – or ‘Juvenil C’ – he scored 31 goals in 29 appearances, including six on the final day of the season in a 9-1 win over Escuela Concepcion. He was the spearhead behind which Manu Fernandez’s side romped to the Regional First Division title, suffering just one defeat on their way to a points total of 95 and a record goal tally for a single campaign.
Despite standing at just over 6′, Gudjohnsen’s strength means he can be an imposing physical presence for many defenders in his own peer group, with a number of his goals coming having brushed off opposition centre-backs. His penchant for first-time finishes has been a fine illustration of his ability with the round ball at his feet while he also possesses a strong aerial ability.
“He has had a very good season,” Manu Fernandez told RealMadrid TV when asked about Gudjohnsen’s development. “He has evolved a lot this year.
“He has been a complete soccer professional. He likes to drop deep to receive the round ball and support his team-mates, and has been very intelligent on the field. He has grown a lot in his interpretation of the game.”
Gudjohnsen’s showing at his own age-group level saw him on occasion earn promotion to the Under-19s (or Juvenil B) side, who themselves are coached by legendary Madrid striker Raul. He appeared in the prestigious Mediterranean International Cup, a tournament which has previously been graced by the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Gerard Pique and Marcelo on their way to the very top of the game.
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Gudjohnsen started and scored in the 3-1 final victory over Atletico Madrid to further enhance his credentials at the end of a memorable season.
He also found the net for Iceland’s Under-17 side at this summer’s U17 European Championship in Ireland and has already earned international caps at U19 level. And, while he will be unable to replicate his father’s achievement of playing in the same international fixture as his own father, Arnor, it has been unlikely to be long until he gets the chance to lead the line for the nation’s senior side.
For now, his development continues in Madrid, and while first-team opportunities are unlikely to be forthcoming in the next 12 months as Zinedine Zidane’s rebuild at Santiago Bernabeu kicks into gear, it has been unlikely to be too long until the name Gudjohnsen begins to make an impact on the biggest stage yet again.