Barcelona sporting director Deco has had a strange little dig at Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez while defending one of his signings. The Uruguayan does have his critics.
Barcelona sporting director Deco has moved to defend Vitor Roque this week. The teenage forward signed for the club last summer from Athletico Paranaense but only arrived in Catalonia last month.
Roque is the latest in a series of very expensive teenagers out of Brazil. Barcelona paid an initial £25m to sign him but the deal could reach £52.2m, per the Athletic, and he won't turn 19 until the end of the month.
That has led to criticism for Barcelona, with many believing they've overpaid. At the very least, it's led to enormous pressure on Roque over his first few games with the club.
Sporting director Deco has called for patience - but appeared to make a strange dig at Darwin Nunez in the process.
“You killed the kid before he started playing," he said, per Fabrizio Romano. “Liverpool signed Darwin Núñez €90m, Newcastle paid €70m for [Alexander] Isak. The price analysis should be done in some time.
“It wasn’t too expensive, we paid the right money for a player we needed."
Comparing the transfer to Liverpool's Nunez deal is bizarre, really. The Uruguayan was an established player in European football, having scored 34 times for Benfica in the season before his move. That includes scoring 26 in 28 league games.
Signing such a player is very, very different to bringing in an 18-year-old from Brazilian football. Nunez scored as many goals in his last season at Benfica as Roque managed in his career up to joining Barcelona.
But criticising Nunez is a go-to for many right now. That's despite him being the first Premier League player to register double-digits for both goals and assists this season. That's despite him leading the line for one of the world's best teams right now.
If Roque ends up being that good, then the money was well worth it for Barcelona.