Vitor Roque report: The reasons Barca are betting on Brazilian starlet

SPORT CONFIDENTIAL

Vitor Roque report: The reasons Barca are betting on Brazilian starlet

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Barça are well on the way to signing Vitor Roque. There is an agreement in principle with Ath. Paranaense, with a set transfer price (35 million euros plus 10m in variables). When the constraints of the Financial Fair Play rules allow it, Barça will close the deal for a striker who has created internal consensus and with an ideal profile to fit in Xavi Hernandez's side.

This is the x-ray of a No 9 of unquestionable quality, for whom the big Premier League clubs, with Chelsea and Arsenal at the forefront, have been bidding.

A precocious talent

He is a different kind of footballer. In 2022, at the age of 17, he was the 'rookie' of the Copa Libertadores, the most competitive tournament in South America, and his contribution was key for the 'Furacao' to reach the final, where they were beaten by Flamengo (1-0). This season he has exploded and is the best '9' in South America. He is a consistent scorer with 20 goals and five assists since January. It has been years since Brazil last produced an attacker with the ability to make his mark on the Seleçao.

An iron mentality

Tigrinho stands out for his voracity and competitiveness, without which it would be hard to explain why he has become a continental benchmark in such a short space of time. Without exception, he goes out to "eat the world" in every game, which is reflected in every action: he is the first to start the press and there is no ball too lost for him. He is aggressive and hard-working. He transmits a lot of confidence in his abilities and is not affected by any mistakes he might make.

Privileged physique

He is 1.74m tall and has a very robust build. Although he is still in training, he already stands out for being a very strong and powerful striker, explosive, with tremendous speed and change of pace. This allows him to do very well on the counter-attack. He is capable of starting plays from outside the box and arriving with goal-scoring intent in dangerous positions. With a low centre of gravity he is very difficult to stop with the ball under control. He never gives up and goes with a lot of conviction into battles with the centre-backs.

Versatile No 9

He is the prototypical modern centre-forward, with the quality, dynamism and mobility to play through the middle or dropping in on either flank (he does it much more often on the right). In the first months of the year, with Paulo Turra as coach, he has played many minutes with another '9' as if he were a second striker. He is not only a finisher, but he is involved in the construction of plays and has the individual technical quality necessary to link associatively, an aspect that will undoubtedly improve a lot under Xavi's guidance. 

Tactical intelligence

It is impressive to see the tactical awareness that such a young player has, especially in the box. He knows how to position himself perfectly between the centre-backs and in very tight spaces in front of tight defences, while at the same time he masterfully interprets the play when trying to gain numerical superiority and quick transitions in which he plays for the team and not for his own benefit. In the 'Furacao', when he has been seen with his team playing on the counter, he can spend many minutes without receiving the ball but never disconnects himself from the game.

Eager to learn

He displays the humble, hard-working, battling attitude needed to succeed in the world of football. This was revealed by Fernandinho, the now 38-year-old midfielder who triumphed at City under Pep Guardiola, and with whom he shares a dressing room. 

Vitor Roque tries to put into practice every single piece of guidance and advice given to him by both the coaching staff and his more senior dressing room colleagues. This stance, of which the Blaugrana management is aware, will be fundamental in his arrival and adaptation to a club with such a defined way of playing as Barça have.

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