Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Barcelona sign Brazilian sensation Vitor Roque: here’s all you need to know about him

La Liga champions Barcelona stole a march on their rivals by signing another talented youngster from South America, thus investing in the hope that the Brazilian teenager can become another Lionel Messi.

Barca this week made official the signing of 18-year-old Brazilian centre-forward Vitor Roque. The promising young Brazilian will join the club ahead of the 2024/25 season – staying one more season in Brazilian football – and has signed a long-term deal until 2031.

Vitor has made a huge impression on Athletico Paranaense and the Brazilian U-20 national team, turning heads across Europe and, clearly, FC Barcelona. He was even handed the iconic No.9 jersey after quickly becoming the team’s top scorer as well as a regular in the starting XI.

With 15 goals in 31 games this season, Roque has already won the Parana state championship and is one of Brazil’s top scorers. He also won the South American U-20 title last February and was the tournament’s top scorer with six goals.

Here are a few other things about Vitor Roque that football fans would like to know:

Praised by a world-champion coach

Former Athletico Paranaense and 2002 World Cup-winning Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari praised Vitor even before his move to Barcelona was finalised. Scolari coached him during the 2022 season and was effusive in his praise.”He has great room for improvement,” he said. “He lived a Copa Libertadores final aged just 17. He has already experienced things where he was the main piece. He’s a very focused, well-balanced boy who listens a lot to what we say,” Scolari was quoted as saying in a release by La Liga.

He already has experience

Vitor Roque made his first appearance for the senior Brazilian national team on March 3, 2023, against World Cup surprise package Morocco. He played 25 minutes in the friendly, enough for him to become the youngest player to make his debut for the national team (18 years and 25 days) since Ronaldo Nazario (18 years and 17 days) in 1994. He will be the youngest player in the squad

Barcelona’s current squad has five players under the age of 21, but even so, Vitor Roque will arrive as the rookie of the group. Born on 28 February 2005 in Timóteo, Minas Gerais, Vitor is six months younger than the team’s current rookie, Gavi, who was born in August 2004. The Brazilian youngster was only two years old when Robert Lewandowski, the team’s oldest player, made his professional debut.

He will also be the first Brazilian to join Barca from Brazilian football since 2019. The Catalan club has had 46 Brazilians on their books throughout their history, but only 16 of them came directly from Brazil. The latest was full-back Emerson Royal from Atletico Mineiro in 2019, although he never played a full season at Barca. Vitor Roque, however, arrives as one of the most eagerly awaited prospects of recent years.

A friend of Endrick, the future Real Madrid star

Vitor has never hidden his close friendship with Endrick, another rising star of Brazilian football who will also land in Spanish football in time for next season. They are the most talked about young Brazilians in the international media due to their great performances, important goals and their transfers to the two La Liga giants. “We are always talking on social media,” says Vitor. “He’s an incredible kid, he has a lot of potential. We are two young talents. He’s a great player, and also a great person. I hope we can have an excellent future together.”

He’s all the rage in international media

Since his possible arrival in European football was first reported, Vitor Roque has received a lot of praise from the press who talk about his rapid rise and exponential potential. Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, for example, recently said that “Brazilian talents will dominate the future and Vitor Roque is one of them,” while The Athletic said that Vitor is “one of the best since Ronaldo.”

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