Barça made a special transfer. Roque is not simply called the “new Ronaldo”
Mikhail Rozhdestvensky July 13, 2023, 12:00 Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.
Vitor has a set of elite qualities for a striker. At 18, he is a star in Brazil.
Brazil has always been one of the main sources of talent in world soccer. Now the trend is only getting stronger – there are more young football players, and their prices are growing rapidly. Neymar, Vinicius, Rodrigo: Over the last decade, European clubs have invested a lot of money in promising Brazilians.
Soon there will be one more super talent in Europe. Barcelona have bought striker Vitor Roque from Atlético Paranaense on impressive terms. The Brazilian club will receive 30 million euros immediately, and another 31 million euros are given as a bonus (5 million euros – for being in the top three nominees for the Ballon d’Or, the rest – for the number of matches, goals and trophies). The 18-year-old will spend next season in Brazil on loan and will join Barca in a year’s time.
Roque’s contract with Barça is also impressive. It is designed for up to eight years and contains a release worth 500 million euros. What kind of football player is this? Let’s get acquainted.
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Where does Rock come from?
Vitor was born in the municipality of Timoteu in the southeast of Brazil. As is often the case, the boy was raised on soccer by his father, who played at the amateur level as a defensive midfielder. Roque’s potential manifested itself quickly and from a very young age he entered the Cruzeiro youth academy, considered one of the best in the country. And at the age of 10 he went to the Atlético Mineiro system.
Roque initially followed his father’s path and played in the support zone. But the craving for other people’s doors took over: soon the guy was transferred to a more attacking position, and then Vitor finally settled in his current role. As a forward, Roque felt as organic as possible and pleased the coaches with a performance at the youth level.
Photo: Heuler Andrey/Getty Images
The initial stage of his football career was not without scandal. At the age of 14, Vitor decided to leave the Atlético Mineiro youth system and returned to Cruzeiro, signing a youth contract in March 2019. The Atlético management did not like this: the bosses believed that part of the footballer’s economic rights belonged to them. The case went to court, and as a result, the former club received 35% of Vitor’s value.
At Cruzeiro, Roque continued to develop at the youth level, and two years after his return, in May 2021, he signed his first professional contract. It took the boy nine months for his debut goal, but then the process was more active. By April 2022, Vitor scored an impressive statistic: six goals in 16 games for the main team.
And then the first full transfer happened. In the spring of 2022, Atlético Paranaense broke its own record and paid 4.4 million euros for Roque. The club’s bet played to the maximum. Vitor was immediately introduced into the starting lineup and the player began to show results. In the first season, the young striker scored 7 + 3 in the “goal + pass” system in 36 matches for the club and at the same time established himself in the youth team. Roque helped Brazil win the South American Under-20 Championship this year, scoring six goals in eight games. The guy even received praise from the legendary Ronaldo, who said that Vitor would reach incredible heights in football. He, too, received a first-team debut call-up and played 26 minutes in a game with Morocco, which the Brazilians lost 2-1.
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Rock is really that good?
At home, Vitor has long been called the “new Ronaldo.” And it’s not just that they have the same role and both started at Cruzeiro. Roque always aims for the goal, works with the ball at a high level and does not hesitate to use fakes, has great body work (for this reason, defenders have to commit fouls, it is incredibly difficult to take the ball away from Vitor) He has an accurate shot He takes penalties and knows how to finish, despite being 172 cm tall. According to the set of qualities, it seems that Barça signed the attacker without weaknesses. Of course, Vitor still has room to grow, and this is just an advantage: he is only 18 years old.
Roque has already scored 15 goals in 30 games in all competitions at club level this season. Vitor’s favorite way to score is to pick up the ball in front of the box and drag it past defenders as they slide down the chutes waiting for the shot. And when it seems that the moment has already been lost: burst into the corner against the goalkeeper. Based on some cutaways, it might seem like it’s time for Roque to get used to this technique and start countering, but the opponents still can’t do anything.
Of course, Roque has its drawbacks. The main one is on the surface: his inexhaustible energy and his focus on goal help ignite in Brazil, but this can be a problem in Europe. Do you remember how Vinicius angered the fans at the beginning? After moving to Real Madrid, the winger took the ball and no longer saw his teammates: he had to go around all the opponents and get to the goal. Experience has shown that a soccer player needs time and the right coach. So, in the case of Roque, it will cost Xavi a lot of work.
Many years have passed since Ronaldo’s performance in Barcelona, and not all fans remember how the Brazilian caught fire in Catalonia. But Roque, if he is prepared for European football, he will show how he was. Do not be surprised if, after a few years, they no longer compare Vitor with Ronaldo, but other attackers with Roque himself.
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