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Ronaldinho, Romário, Neymar, Rivaldo, Ronaldo... and now Vitor Roque. There is a long tradition of Brazilian footballers who have worn the FC Barcelona jersey. The 18-year-old signing from Athletico Paranaense takes the total up to 47 different players from the country that has won more World Cups than any other who have also donned the famous blaugrana colours.
Strictly speaking, the first two Barça Brazilians were Fausto dos Santos and Jaguaré Becerra in the 1930s, but because of the restrictions on foreign players at the time, they were only ever able to play in exhibition matches, and never in official competitions. That means that, at least 'officially', the first Brazilian to play for the Catalan club was Lucidio Batista da Silva.
One of the few images of the first Brazilian to play in an official game for Barça
He was born in Rio de Janeiro on 25 November 1922, and he landed in Barcelona in 1947, having made his name at Palmeiras in his home country and Peñarol in Uruguay, where he had earned the moniker of 'Cabeção'. It was in Montevideo where he played under Enrique Fernández, who would later coach Barça (1947-1950) and was the man who brought the 25-year-old Brazilian to Europe.
Da Silva fit in with all the stereotypes that have been associated to so many Brazilian imports, being a striker of extraordinary flair and talent ... But according to the press of the era, he was easily distracted from his duties and in his only season at the club he spent rather too much time enjoying the many non-footballing delights on offer in the Catalan capital. But it may be simplifying things somewhat to say that that was the only reason why he failed to succeed at Barça.
He played 21 games and scored 10 goals, although only three of those games and one of those goals were in competitive fixtures, so his contribution to the league title that season was limited. The main reason for his lack of opportunities was the fact that he shared a position with César Rodríguez, who to this day is still the second highest goalscorer in club history with 232 goals.
As he wasn't getting much playing time, Da Silva left for Porto just one year after arriving at Barça, and would eventually end up going back to Palmeiras, where he retired from football in 1949 at the age of just 27. We know that he later worked as a police officer in the customs and spectacles brigade in São Paulo, where he died on 4 August 2005, just half a year after the birth of Vitor Roque on February 28 of the same year, less than 800 km away in Timóteo.
Lucidio da Silva will always and forever be the very first Brazilian to play competitive football at FC Barcelona. But he was by no means the last, and Vitor Roque is now here to continue a wonderful tradition.
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