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15.09.2008 10:56

Rochemback’s coming back to the Camp Nou

David Puig

One of the many attractions about this Tuesday’s Barcelona vs. Sporting Clube clash is the presence of ex-Barça player Rochemback in the Portuguese side. The Brazilian returns to the Camp Nou five years after he left the Catalan club.

Fabio Rochemback is coming back to the Camp Nou. This Tuesday Sporting Clube’s Brazilian midfielder will be lining up against the club where he played for two seasons (2001/02 and 2002/03) and was seen as one of Brazil’s most outstanding young talents when he first arrived. Described as the most European of Brazilian footballers and the heir to Dunga, Rochemback played in 45 League matches and 19 Champions League fixtures in his two seasons with the Catalan outfit.

A promising 20 year-old

Roca_en_el_Gamper_de_lxany_2001.jpgRochemback was just 20 when he signed for Barça from Internacional Oporto Alegre. A physically powerful player with a lot of character and a strong shot, Rochemback was perhaps too young when he joined Barcelona where he never really adapted to European football and to Barça’s style of play. The Brazilian scored four goals in competitive matches, three in the League and one in the Champions League.

Great goal at Anfield

One of the most memorable moments in Rochemback’s time at Barça was at Anfield in the unforgettable Champions League clash with Liverpool in the 2001/02 season. Barça won the group stage fixture 1-3 with a breathtaking display of football under the then manager Carles Rexach. Rochemback made a major contribution to the win and scored his only European goal, a screamer from outside the box that made it 1-2 to Barça.

Three years in the Premier League

Rochemback.jpgIn the summer of 2003 Rochemback went on loan to Sporting Clube, where he played for two seasons and appeared in the UEFA Cup Final. He developed as a player in the Portuguese League and began to attract international attention. In the 2005/06 season he was signed by Middlesbrough, where he played for three seasons and once again made it to the UEFA Cup Final.

Back to Sporting Clube

This summer he returned to Sporting Clube at the age of 26 and as a fully formed footballer. He has been in the starting XI for both of Sporting’s first two League fixtures and is a key part of manager Paulo Bento’s system.
Photo: www.Sporting2003.no
Photo: www.Sporting2003.no
Played against Paulo Bento for Barça
Rochemback and his manager, Paulo Bento, came face-to-face as players in the summer of 2001 in a preseason friendly between Barça and Sporting Clube in Geneva. Barça won 3-1 and neither player scored. Paulo Bento played all 90 minutes while Rochemback was substituted by Cocu in the 45th minute.

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