In less than three months, Vitor Roque could be donning the colours of FC Barcelona.
The 18-year-old striker was signed by the Blaugrana during the summer from Athletico Paranaense in a deal worth €30 million plus another €31 million in add-ons.
However, due to FFP issues, the teenager’s arrival was pushed forward to 2024 and he stayed put in Brazil.
Now, the plan is for the La Liga champions to incorporate and register Roque in January, which is seen as the biggest priority for the winter window.
The 18-year-old Brazilian international recently sat down for an interview with Mundo Deportivo, where he discussed at length his move to Barcelona and what he is looking forward to once he makes the switch.
The past year has been very eventful for Roque and looking back at how things have gone for him, the youngster said:
“Yes, many things have happened and I am happy for the things that are happening. To have signed for Barça is a source of great pride and a dream come true.”
Reminiscing the moment when his transfer to Barcelona was finalised, Roque said: “Yes, yes, when I received the news I was very happy. At first, I didn’t believe it, but when it was said that it was official, and when I saw the proposals, the conversations, I was very happy and I shared it with my family, everyone was very happy and excited too.”
It is no secret that Roque was on the radars of several other top clubs across Europe and he would have received a more lucrative financial package than at Barça if he opted to join them.
But the striker made it clear that it was always going to be Barcelona for him despite the possibility of earning more elsewhere, as he said:
No, no, I always had the conviction that it would be Barcelona, I always had the will, it was always my dream. So, it was always clear to me that I wanted to go to Barcelona.”
On why he was fixated on joining the Blaugrana, the winger explained: “It has always been my dream since I was a child, and also my family’s dream. Since I was a child, I’ve always watched Barcelona matches. They had Ronaldo, Romario, Neymar, also Brazilians, and now there’s Raphinha… It was always my dream to go to Barcelona.”
Roque also revealed that before he signed for Barça, players like Ronald Araujo and Raphinha had been in contact with him and shed light on his interactions with them.
Before the deal was finalised, Araujo called me. First, he sent a message to Canobbio – Uruguayan and Vitor’s teammate at Paranaense – and told Canobbio I should come to Barça: “Come to Barça, come, come and play with us”, he told me, and then Raphinha sent me a message,” he said.
Revealing the message from Raphinha, the youngster stated: “That they were waiting for me and that they were eager to play with me. And that when I arrive they will help me to adapt well.”
The Brazilian also shed light on his talks with manager Xavi Hernandez and sporting director Deco, as he said:
“The first time Xavi called me together with Deco, and they told me that they were happy that I had been able to sign for Barcelona and that they were going to help me in every way, as a coach and as a friend off the pitch.”
Roque is waiting for his move to Barcelona to go through in January, but insisted that he will stay calm and focus on Athletico if the switch is delayed until the summer.
In January it would be very good for me to adapt and start the next season well, but if it doesn’t happen, I will have a good head, calm, and prepare in the best way for the next season here at Athletico,” he said.
“These are positive talks that everything can happen in January, but if it doesn’t happen, head well, calm and focused here at Athletico.”
“It’s not easy, but I always try to keep a calm mind, I try to work every day, now I’m focused on recovering from the injury. I think that’s the most important thing at the moment,” he added.
Roque is currently sidelined with an injury with there being conflicting reports on his recovery timeline. The striker insisted that he is progressing well and that if things go as per plans he could still feature for Athletico Paranaense.
“I still have the idea of playing with Athletico. If everything goes well with the recovery, I think I will play.”
Roque also revealed his excitement regarding playing for Barcelona, stating that he was particularly looking forward to play with Robert Lewandowski, Raphinha, and teenage sensation Lamine Yamal.
Yes, Lewandowski, Raphinha, now Lamine. It’s going to be very special to play with all of them,” he stated.
On the prospect of sharing the dressing room with a legendary figure like Lewandowski, Roque added: “I’m going to share a dressing room with him and I’m going to try to learn as much as possible from him, watching every step, every shot to learn as much as possible and enjoy him, he’s a football legend.”
Harking back to the past, Vitor Roque revealed that Barcelona’s 6-1 remontada against PSG was what got him hooked as a Culer, as he said:
“The game of the 6-1 comeback against Paris Saint-Germain at the Camp Nou. It was the match that marked me the most.”
On the current team under Xavi, he said: “They are playing well. I always follow them from here, trying to learn as much as possible, following every step and I always imagine myself already there playing Champions League, La Liga, so I’m very happy about that too.”
At Athletico, Roque often has to feed on long balls from the defence, but once he moves to Barça, he will have creators like Pedri, Frenkie de Jong, and Ilkay Gundogan feeding him passes from midfield.
On the prospect of sharing the field with them, he said: “It sounds very good. Better.”
Roque has often been likened to former Barcelona and Brazil striker and legendary footballer Ronaldo. On the comparisons with Il Phenomeno, the youngster said:
Yes, I’m happy about those comparisons. He was an incredible player at Barcelona, also in the Brazilian national team, so I hope I can follow in the same footsteps and build more and more my own history.”