BVB and Bayern Munich are said to be keeping tabs on Rocco Vata, who made history with his professional debut at Celtic FC. Who is the 17-year-old striker?
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and like father, like son: in the case of Rocco Vata both sayings are certainly true, but in terms of football the differences could hardly be greater.
Rudi Vata previously played for Celtic FC in Glasgow from 1992 to 1996 (later also for Energie Cottbus and LR Ahlen) and achieved cult status there because he was part of the team that won the European Cup. Scotland in 1995. The 52-year-old made 45 appearances for Celtic and won 59 caps for Albania.
But all this as a tough centre-back, who has adapted perfectly to his rustic and physical style of play in the Scottish Premier League. His son Rocco, on the other hand, who made his professional debut in six minutes for the Bhoys against Hibernian on December 28, is a good spirit with the ball.
Rocco, whose potential has already led Irish newspapers to cast him as Ireland’s possible Cristiano Ronaldo, became the ninth-youngest player in Celtic’s glorious 135-year history at the age of 17, eight months and ten days.
Rocco Vata: three-year contract with the professionals at 16
Vata junior is an extremely flexible player who can play in attacking midfield, on the wing positions or as a suspended striker. Ball handling and technique are excellent, he brings a high level of game intelligence and his finishing with a strong right foot is very good. Even without the ball at his feet, he is characterized by clever runs that open up spaces for him or often make him playable.
However, the most important point for a talent of this age is this: Vata has already shown that he is capable of more than competing in senior football. He has been training regularly with the pros since this season and plays for Celtic’s second team in the Lowland League. In 14 appearances, he scored eight goals and one assist.
Celtic have long known they have a diamond in the rough within their own ranks. In July 2021, Vata, who joined the club in October 2012 aged seven, was handed a three-year professional contract despite being just 16 years old. What he’s worth in the end will be apparent immediately: Vata wouldn’t be the first promising youngster from his own youth that the Bhoys lose prematurely.
BVB and Bayern love Rocco Vata?
By today’s scouting standards, it goes without saying that there is such development at Europe’s top clubs as Vata has recently done – particularly in the Youth League he has shone for his side often lower. However, they can only be found on the Italian portal tutomercatoweb corresponding rumors.
According to this, AC Milan, Juventus and AS Roma were among the clubs interested in Vata in October, and the names of Manchester City and FC Arsenal were also mentioned. Died after Premiership debut tutomercatoweb with further information. Now also Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Atlético Madrid are keen on Vata.
“He’s really good. He adapted to our training from the start,” says James Forrest, a professional team-mate who has played for Celtic since 2003 and has followed the path the club also has in mind to Vata: “Physically he looks ready. He’s fit and fast. I think he’s a confident lad.”
Rocco Vata at Celtic: ‘He has a killer attitude’
Vata should also bring the right attitude to his job so that he doesn’t get stuck like many others in the transition to adult football. Darren O’Dea, Vata’s coach at the Celtics U18 and now second team, said in the Daily recording: “The most impressive thing about him is probably his mentality, his approach to the game. He’s someone who has a killer attitude that never stops. “He’s a very intelligent player. He’s going in the right direction. I’m convinced that if he reaches his full potential, he can reach the top.”
The question of which team Vata could play for in the future doesn’t just arise at club level. Bigger than the rumors of an early club change is the controversy over his future in national dress.
It’s actually quite simple: Vata has played for the U15s, U17s, U18s and currently the U19s – from Ireland. Unlike the senior national team, which even finished behind Luxembourg in the World Cup qualifiers for Qatar, the Irish youth teams are strong. Vata finished first in the European Championship qualifying group with the U17s and the U19s, for whom he made his debut in September, are also top of their European Championship qualifying group.
Rocco Vata: Born in Scotland, Ireland youth team
But why Ireland if he was born in Glasgow? This too is simple: it is due to his maternal grandmother, born in Dublin. Besides Scotland, Vata could also play for Albania, his father’s home country.
However, it’s probably not from hearing Vata senior: “No one from the Albanian FA ever contacted me. I know Scotland were watching him, but the Irish FA were the first to get in touch. They didn’t have no respect or professionalism, and if they don’t, he will never touch a ball for Albania.”
It is quite possible that efforts will soon be made in Albania, but also in Scotland, if the development of Vata continues so quickly. Perhaps he needs an appearance on the biggest possible stage in Scotland: on January 2, Celtic will be guests of Rangers for the Old Firm.
Rocco Vata in profile
|Anniversary:||April 18, 2005|
|Strong foot :||right|
|Companies:||Celtic F.C. (since 2012)|
|National team:||Ireland U15 (5 matches, 1 goal), U17 (4 matches, 2 goals), U18 (1 match), U19 (2 matches)|
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