Brazilian forward Vitor Roque is Barcelona’s first transfer of the season. The Spanish club made a €40 million deal with Brazilian club Athletico-PR to secure a seven-year contract with the 18-year-old. The two clubs reached an agreement back in July to transfer the player.
The contract includes a buyout clause of €500 million.
Roque played his last official game with Athletico on 3 December, having made a total of 80 appearances, and scoring 28 goals since joining in 2022. Of those 28 goals, 21 of them were from the 44 matches he played in 2023. Unfortunately, he suffered from a sprained right ankle in September, keeping him sidelined for two months.
Barça’s bid to keep him for at least the next seven years shows that they agree with many fans about the bright future that Roque has ahead of him.
Here is a look at what makes Roque such a unique player, and a great option for the Catalan club.
Barcelona’s current issues
Barcelona is currently sitting in third spot in La Liga and is eight points behind first-place Girona. Many Culés are concerned about how narrow the victories for Barça have been thus far.
One problem that the team has been suffering from is a lack of support for striker Robert Lewandowski. Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez is hopeful that Roque’s arrival will provide the support that their front line is currently missing.
Roque was scheduled to join the following summer, but the club moved his arrival date forward to bring him on the field sooner.
Roque’s winning debut for Barcelona
Roque’s debut game for Barcelona was their 2-1 victory over Las Palmas in their first game of the calendar year. He came onto the field in the 78th minute as a substitute for Ferran Torres. The game was still tied 1-1 when the substitution was made.
Only two minutes after joining the game, Roque made quick work of a mistake made by Las Palmas, almost scoring his first goal with the team. Unfortunately, he was met by the goalkeeper, stopping his attack.
Three minutes into stoppage time, Roque was part of a three-man group that won the ball and pressed into the penalty box, where the winning penalty kick would be awarded.
While Roque’s missed opportunity for a goal was definitely a disappointing moment for the young player, it shows his potential with the team moving forward.
Out of his eight touches throughout the game, three of which were shots, with one of them on target.
What Roque brings to the team
Similar to other Brazilian players Ronaldo Nazario, Endrick and Gabriel Jesus, Roque is short but stocky, strong, and quick on his feet. When opportunities arise, he is quick to take advantage of them. This playstyle has earned Roque the nickname “Tigrinho” or the little tiger.
At the moment, striker Robert Lewandowski has been keeping Barça afloat. Although he has stated that he has no plans to retire anytime soon, he is now over 35 years old. Barcelona will have to start looking for other players to fill the void that Lewandowski will leave when he either retires or transfers to a different club.
Roque has the skill set and potential to fill that void as time goes on, and he learns how to connect with his new teammates on the field.
We will have to wait and see what other transfers, if any, Barcelona makes to their roster. While they have been managing to stay towards the top of their league this season, many fans are worried about how they have been performing in recent games.
What we do know is that Vitor Roque was a good start for the club’s transfer season.