On Saturday 25th March, Athletico PR’s 18-year-old Vitor Roque became the youngest player to make his Brazilian national debut since Ronaldo back in 1994. You only have to look at the sheer volume of talent which has been consistently rolled out by the five-time World Cup winners to know that this near 30 year record hasn’t been broken lightly.
Naturally comparisons have been drawn between the pair, but to even entertain that argument in itself shows how highly regarded Vitor Roque is.
Goals, finals and frightening ability
Last season, the newly capped Brazilian scored 10 goals across Serie A, Copa do Brasil and the Libertadores for Athletico PR in his debut season, as well as starting the Libertadores final at just 17 years of age.
Former Brazil manager Felipe Scolari was in charge at the time, and when a man of his experience rates someone at that age, it’s clear to see why he’s attracted so much attention.
The disappointment of the Libertadores was quickly put to one side when the young prospect helped Brazil win the South American Championships. His performances were impressive, as was his natural ability in front of goal, finishing as the joint-top goalscorer with six goals – alongside Chelsea’s Andrey Santos.
His goalscoring prowess has continued back with Athletico PR, having scored four goals in five matches, despite featuring less than 30 minutes in three of those.
Although only 18, Vitor Roque possesses such power and strength in his game, he's able to terrorise defences both with the ball at his feet or competing aerially.
The confidence the striker has is frightening at his age, who ploughs through opponents, bullying his way into creating a goalscoring opportunity.
Away from that side of his game, Vitor Roque has natural ability to dance through defences, using his body to glide past opponents in the final third. You almost can’t help but lift yourself from your seat and edge closer to the action when Vitor Roque preys on defenders before making his move.
That confidence in his own ability only makes him a more ruthless finisher. The Brazilian rarely takes that extra touch if it isn’t needed, being able to generate so much force behind his strikes, often leaving goalkeepers with little chance to react.
Despite his bulldog approach, he’s mastered delicate chips when one on one and his intelligent, clever penalties make him very unpredictable to play against.
European giants fighting for his signature
Naturally, with so much raw talent, Barcelona have expressed their interest. So much so, Vitor Roque’s Dad was pictured meeting with representatives only last week.
Yet it isn’t just Barcelona who have been linked with the 18-year-old, as Manchester United and Arsenal are both very keen to sign the young prodigy.
Athletico PR have slapped a €50m price tag on their striker, but this looks likely to prove a snip if he continues to improve and showcase his talent on a bigger stage.
Whoever Vitor Roque signs for, Europe will be blessed to soon have one of South America’s best talents arrive on their shores. With so much ability, Vitor Roque will look to replicate the success of Ronaldo’s illustrious career and create his own history.