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Player Profile: Fabio Rochemback  

RochembackFull name: Fabio Rochemback 
Position: Midfielder
Date of Birth: 10 December 1981
Birthplace: Soledade, Brazil

 

Talented Brazilian midfielder Fabio Rochemback allies a generous dose of competitiveness and aggression to the skilful footwork usually associated with footballers hailing from his country of birth.

This potentially potent mix of assets has rarely been consistently displayed by the 26-year-old. Having re-signed for Sporting in May 2008, the Lisbon club and their fans will be hoping all that changes.

Rochemback’s career got off to as auspicious a start as a young aspiring footballer could hope for. Vibrant displays at his first club, Internacional, were so eye-catching that Spanish giants Barcelona quickly stepped in to take the midfielder to the Camp Nou.

Although still a teenager when arriving in Catalonia, he went straight into the Barcelona first team, playing 45 matches and scoring 3 goals. But the arrival of Frank Rijkaard, who decided Rochemback was not part of his plans, signalled the end of his time in Spain.

In 2004 Rochemback signed a two-year loan contract for Sporting, as part of the deal that took Ricardo Quaresma in the opposite direction. Now a full Brazil international, Rochemback soon settled to play some of the best football of his career.

Memorable debut year

In his debut season at Sporting Rochemback played 21 games and scored 8 goals, with his inventive passing and wholehearted attitude making him a key player for the Lions. Such was his impact in Portugal that he was awarded the title of the MVP in the Portuguese League in 2003/04.

The season ended on a sour note, however, as a serious knee injury forced Rochemback onto the operating table in April 2004, keeping him out of action for six months. After missing the start of 2004/2005, Rochemback returned although many critics contended he never hit the heights shown in his first season at Alvalade.

Nevertheless, Rochemback was a mainstay in central midfield as Jose Peseiro’s side teetered on the brink of Championship and Uefa Cup glory only to lose out on both fronts in a disastrous last week of the season.

After playing such a prominent role for Sporting over two years it came as a surprise when he was sold to Premiership side Middlesbrough, whose manager at the time, Steve McClaren, had been wooed by the Brazilian’s energetic display as his team were given a 4-1 pre-season trouncing by the Lisbon club.

Rochemback made a promising debut for Boro in a 2-1 win over Arsenal, but the player failed to make the same impression in the Premiership as he had done in the Portuguese Liga, and it was not a huge surprise when both club and player decided not to extend their association at the end of his three-year contract.

Uefa Cup heartbreak

Highlights of his stint in England included scoring in a big win against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea, playing a major role in Middlesbrough’s run to the UEFA Cup Final in 2006 (Rochemback was unfortunate in losing two successive Uefa Cup finals) and scoring an extraordinary goal direct from a free kick in his final match for Middlesbrough.

On 13 May 2008 Sporting announced Fabio Rochemback had signed a three-year contract, teaming up again with former colleagues and compatriots Liedson and Polga, who remained from his first spell at the club.

“The agreement is good for both parties,” said Rochemback upon returning to Lisbon. “Here I know the club and the people. The fact the team is in the Champions League was also an important factor. I promise the fans they can expect the Rochemback of old!”

by Tom Kundert (03/07/2008)

ClubAppearancesGoals
Internacional407
Barcelona453
Sporting4610
Middlesbrough685
Sporting**140
   
 BRAZIL**70
* League appearances only

** Up to 1 March 2009

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