Nike have identified Vitor Roque as Barcelona’s next top shirt seller, inheriting Lionel Messi’s number 10 jersey amid rumors over Ansu Fati’s departure. The latter was handed the Argentine great’s number 10 shirt in 2021 after Messi left the Nou Camp.
However, Fati has endured a disappointing season, scoring six goals and providing three assists in 32 games across competitions. The Spanish forward has started just nine games.
Reports claim that Fati is growing impatient and could push for a summer move if he is still lacking game time. Barcelona will be in the market and have targeted Athletico Paranaense’s 17-year-old center forward Roque, per El Nacional.
The Brazilian teenager has also received proposals from Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham United, Atletico Madrid, and several Italian clubs. However, Roque wants to join Barca.
If an agreement is reached for the Selecao youngster to join Xavi’s side, it will enthuse Nike. Blaugrana’s kit sponsors believe that Roque could follow in the footsteps of Lionel Messi and be a top seller of jerseys in Catalonia. Fati has failed to reach expectations.
Vitor Roque (17 anos) com a camisa do @AthleticoPR:
⚔️ 11 jogos (3 titular)
⚽️ 3 gols
🅰️ 1 assistência
⏰ 110 mins p/ participar de gol
🥊 3 pênaltis sofridos (!)
👟 14 chutes (9 no gol!)
💯 Nota SofaScore 6.84
Tá em choque? Chama o @VitorRoque_F! ⚡️⚡️ pic.twitter.com/0MLXzmjGqD
— Sofascore Brazil (@SofascoreBR) July 3, 2022
Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano claims that Athletico want €60 million for the striker. Roque has made 29 appearances in the Brazilian top flight, scoring five goals and providing an assist. The forward has also scored six goals and contributed two assists in 11 games for Brazil’s U20s.
Roque is a pacey frontman who can also play on the wing. He often finds himself in goalscoring positions and is one of many Selecao teenagers emerging in South America. Barcelona’s El Clasico rivals Real Madrid snapped up another Brazilian wonderkid in Endrick.
Lionel Messi’s father plays down a return to Barcelona
Lionel Messi has been in excellent form at the Parc des Princes this season, scoring 15 goals and contributing 14 assists in 26 games. Despite this, L’Equipe reports that Messi is becoming less tempted to remain in Paris beyond the end of the season.
The Argentine icon has been in talks with PSG over a contract renewal, with his current deal expiring in the summer. However, negotiations are yet to reach a successful conclusion. Speculation has grown over his future, with a potential return to Barcelona being rumored.
His father, Jorge Messi, has seemingly ruled out a reunion for his son with the Catalan giants. He said (via ESPN):
“I don’t think he will return [to Barcelona]. The conditions are not there.”
Lionel Messi: “Barcelona is my life, Barça gave me everything. I’ve lived here for longer than in Argentina.” pic.twitter.com/3kHxxaK9S4
— Leo Messi 🔟 (@WeAreMessi) December 27, 2020
Lionel Messi emerged as one of the greatest players of all time during his 16 seasons at the Nou Camp. He scored 672 goals and provided 303 assists in 778 matches. The Argentine won the Ballon d’Or six times as a Blaugrana player.