By 90Min
June 27, 2018

Centre back: Roque Júnior


Who is he?


There aren't many players who can claim to have  conceded 24 goals in their first six appearances for a club, yet still boast both Champions League and World Cup winners' medals.

However, the Brazilian centre back, Roque Júnior, is one of them. When he arrived at Leeds United there was a certain air of excitement about the place, perhaps a sense of the exotic that had not previously existed at Elland Road. Yet just half a dozen appearances, four cautions, one dismissal and two dozen goals conceded later, Júnior's time at the West Yorkshire club was up, and his face was never to be seen on British soil again. 

Laurence Griffiths/GettyImages

All this happened just one year after he had won the World Cup.

The 'Roque Horrow Show', a nickname he earned while at Leeds, played across Europe and Brazil for the rest of his career, and very nearly signed for Real Madrid, however the Spanish club shied away after AC Milan set the astronomical asking price of £13m. 


Who was he with at the World Cup?


'Solid As A Roque' played in a back three at the 2002 World Cup for Brazil, alongside Lúcio and Edmílson, as putting him alongside just one other centre-back was seen as a risk not worth taking by manager Felipe Scolari.

Often criticised for hiding behind the talents of Brazil's better players such as Kleberson, Roque let everyone know he was on the pitch in the final when he clattered into Germany's Oliver Neuville within the first few minutes and picked up the Seleção's only booking of the game.


OLIVER LANG/GettyImages

(Above: When Scolari refused to drop Roque Júnior, Brazil's players often resorted to other means)


What was his highlight?


With Brazil struggling in their World Cup qualifying group, 'Roque 'n' Roll' made Ronaldo look surplus to requirements when the ball smacked against his head and went in four minutes into injury time against Colombia to make it 1-0. 

Had they drawn the match, both Colombia and Uruguay would have finished above them in the group and Brazil would have missed out on the tournament that they ultimately went on to win. Therefore, without giving him too much credit, it could be said: no Roque, no World Cup win. 


Where on earth is he now? 

After retiring from football in 2010, Júnior brought everything he had learnt during his spell at Leeds and guided São Paulo minnows, XV de Piracicaba to five defeats in his first six games. 


What did he say?


"I once went to Porto and spoke to someone called Vitor Frade".

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