Athletico Paranaense confirm Vitor Roque exit ahead of Barcelona move

Brazilian club Athletico Paranaense confirm the departure of Vitor Roque ahead of his January switch to La Liga champions Barcelona.

Athletico Paranaense have confirmed Vitor Roque‘s departure ahead of his Janaury switch to Barcelona.

The Catalan giants secured Roque’s signature in the summer after they reached an agreement with Athletico over a €40m deal.

While Roque agreed to sign a seven-year contract, he was not expected to join the club until the end of the 2023-24 season.

However, recent speculation suggested Barcelona were keen to speed up the process and bring Roque into the club in January.

Despite the signs pointing to the forward’s early arrival, Barcelona sporting director Deco insisted that a final decision was yet to be made.

FC Barcelona sporting director Deco speaks during the board meeting on September 13, 2023© Reuters

Since Deco made those comments around a week ago, it appears that everything has been put in place for Roque to join the club next month.

On Saturday, Roque’s current employers announced on social media that Sunday’s match with Santos will be the player’s final home game before he departs in January.

In a statement on X, the club said: “Last act with the Athletico fans. The match against Santos will be Vitor Roque’s last match at the Ligga Arena before leaving for Europe.”

After playing their final home game of the season, Athletico will finish their 2023 campaign with an away fixture against Cuiaba on Wednesday evening.

Athletico Paranaense's Vitor Roque celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on June 21, 2023© Reuters

According to Mundo Deportivo, the striker will spend Christmas in Brazil before travelling to Barcelona on December 27.

Under La Liga rules, Barcelona can use 80% of Gavi‘s salary to help register Roque, with the midfielder set to miss the rest of the season with a serious knee injury.

Roque, who joined Athletico in April 2022, has made a total of 80 competitive appearances for the Brazilian club, scoring 28 goals and providing 11 assists.

After saying his goodbyes to Athletico, Roque will begin his new career in Europe and he could make his Barcelona debut against Las Palmas on January 4.

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