The Vitor Roque Era has begun. The Brazilian arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday and had a busy day around the club offices, underwent medical tests and took his time going through the facilities and knowing the people at the place he now calls home.
The 18-year-old is Barça’s big signing in the January transfer window, and the team’s serious issues in front of goal desperately need an injection of youthful energy and natural scoring talent that Vitor Roque is capable of bringing. But he’s still only 18, and Barça have a real plan to help the young man adapt to life at the Blaugrana.
Mundo Deportivo are reporting that the club will take their time and are fully aware that Vitor Roque is a project, much like Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo at Real Madrid, who arrived at the Spanish capital at the same age as Roque and spent over a year learning the basics and having their minutes and roles increased carefully before blossoming into the full-time starters and key pieces they have now become.
Unlike Vinicius and Rodrygo, however, who played at Madrid’s Castilla side before jumping to the first team, Barça believe Vitor Roque will benefit from being around the main players and big stars from day one. But he’ll be allowed to have a “slow start”, as it were, without any pressure to score goals and be the team’s savior. The fans may have big hopes for Roque right away, but the coaches and directors know that he cannot be the solution to all the problems.
And the main reason why Barça made such an effort to bring Vitor Roque in the January transfer window is to have him around Robert Lewandowski, even if just for six months as the Polish striker has an uncertain future due to his recent dip in form. Lewandowski is very well-respected in the dressing room and the club have no concerns about him seeing Roque as some sort of threat, and trust that Lewandowski will take his time showing Vitor the ropes and helping his development.
The coaching staff believes Roque and Lewandowski are very similar players, so the two won’t play together much unless the game dictates a change in formation or Xavi decides to experiment in a match againt a less threatening opponent. But the Tigrinho will be given the chance to learn Barça’s style and watch one of the greatest strikers to ever do it teach him the tricks of the trade in training every day, and they believe this will help him a ton ahead of next season.
The 2024-25 campaign is really the one to watch for Vitor Roque, who by then will have a much stronger grasp on what it means to play for Barça. Until then, he’s going to school. And he’ll make mistakes. Please, can all of us just give the kid some time?