Barcelona successfully register Vitor Roque with La Liga
Vitor Roque could make his Barcelona debut this week / JOSEP LAGO/GettyImages
Barcelona have registered new signing Vitor Roque with La Liga in time for the 18-year-old forward to make his debut against Las Palmas on Thursday.
Barca secured Roque’s transfer from Athletico Paranaense in July in a deal worth just over €60m (£52m) in total. His arrival in Spain wasn’t initially planned until the start of the 2024/25 season amid spending restrictions, but that timeframe was brought forward to January.
Roque was unveiled by his new club at the end of December, but speculation earlier this week claimed questioned Barca’s ability to register the transfer with La Liga. Xavi expressed optimism when he spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon, with registration given the green light just a matter of hours later. Roque will now be eligible to face Las Palmas at Estadio Gran Canaria.
Roque spent the 2023 Brazilian club season playing as a ‘number nine’ for Athletico, scoring 21 times across all competitions. But it has raised doubt about the role he will have in Spain given that Robert Lewandowski is virtually immovable in that position in Barca’s 4-3-3 system.
But Xavi appears confident the pair could play together, calling on Roque’s versatility to play as a wide forward and offer competition to all of the attackers in the squad.
“He can play with [Lewandowski] perfectly,” the boss insisted. “He can play wide or as a number nine. He will generate competition for all the forwards in the squad – Lewandowski, Ferran [Torres], Joao [Felix], Raphinha and Lamine [Yamal] – which is a big positive.
“We will take things step by step with him. He is a kid aged 18, so we can’t load him with responsibility now because he needs time to adapt. But he’s ready [to play] and training well. He is professional and quickly adapting to his new surroundings, but we will be cautious.”
Roque has already been taken under Raphinha’s wing as a fellow Brazilian.