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Brazilian player Vitor Roque set to join Barcelona in January

Brazilian forward Vitor Roque is set to join Spanish giants Barcelona in January after Club Athletico Paranaense said on Saturday that the 18-year-old will play his last home game against Santos on Sunday before heading to Europe.

Barca reached an agreement to sign Roque from Athletico in July for a reported 40 million euros plus 21 million in add-ons, with the player inking a seven-year contract.

Barcelona’s financial struggles and their inability to comply with LaLiga’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules have hampered the club’s ability to register new signings over the last two seasons, and Roque’s status is also unclear.

But with the club managing to create space in the salary cap due to the long-term knee injury to midfielder Gavi, they will be allowed to fit Roque in their squad in January, giving Barca a much-needed depth behind 36-year-old forward Robert Lewandowski.

Roque, who was sidelined for two months due to an ankle injury, returned to action last weekend playing 26 minutes in a goalless draw against Vasco. On Friday against Cruzeiro he played for 45 minutes and scored his first goal since September.

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A product of the same Cruzeiro academy from which former great Ronaldo Nazario emerged, Roque joined Athletico at the start of 2022 and has scored 28 goals in 80 appearances. Last year he helped them reach the Copa Libertadores final.

He earned his first cap for Brazil in March, becoming the youngest-ever debutant for the five-time world champions.

The victory helped quieten the negative noises around the club after a string of bad performances and Xavi hopes they can build on it against Atletico.

“We have to find our game, the second half against Porto was very good … we have to be more consistent,” said the coach.

“We have to find our game, the second half against Porto was very good … we have to be more consistent,” said the coach.

SOURCE: SUPERSPORT

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