After a difficult integration process with Atletico Madrid, talented Portuguese Joao Felix ended up as part of the squad drawn by Argentine Diego Simeone, and he is at the height of brilliance before facing Manchester City on Tuesday in the first leg of the quarter-finals of the Champions League in football.
In the last 8 matches with the capital team, Felix scored 7 goals, which is the same number of goals he scored in 60 previous matches, and apart from some disputes with the team or with his colleagues at the beginning of the season, his talent turned into goals, for the good of the team.
“We know Joao has tremendous talent, but sometimes talent is not enough, work is also important,” his Belgian teammate Yannick Carrasco told the Spanish channel “Movistar” after beating Alaves 4-1 on Saturday. Think of the team, not just think of yourself. Joao this season has worked hard, he understood that the group is more important than his name and today he is a key player for us.”
The newspaper “Marca” summarized Felix’s performance in Saturday’s match, saying that he “shined every time he touched the ball”, and the Spanish daily added, “passes by millimeters and high-quality movements, he presented a series of small works of art. He is without a doubt the most talented player in Atlético.”
– Griezmann from rival to friend
But if his current form justifies the 120 million euros Colchoneros put on the table in 2019 to persuade Benfica to free him, the adjustment has not been easy for Menino de Oro (the golden boy in Portuguese).
This second striker, who plays in the center of the French Antoine Griezmann himself, has scored only nine goals in his first season with Atletico, and ten in the second in all competitions, in addition to the injuries that have plagued him and kept him away from 26 games since his move to the team.
This season, two months before the end, he has already equaled his numbers from last season with 10 goals and 6 assists, but this summer, Griezmann’s return has so infuriated him that he sought to leave the club. Another misunderstanding with the administration of Simeone who refused to give up his Portuguese jewel.
“But the twists and turns of the season mean sentiment has changed. Currently, the number 7 (the previous number of Griezmann in Atletico) is unquestionably essential and constitutes a terrible duo with the Frenchman, according to what Marca wrote in mid-March.
After the achievement at Old Trafford (1-0 win after 1-1 draw in the first leg) to grab the Champions League quarter-final ticket, the two players, who became friends, exchanged their shirts and went together in front of the club’s cameras for joint interviews.
“I have identified with him very well since his arrival,” the Portuguese said of Griezmann. He gave me a lot of advice right from the start, and he stayed close to me.”
Even if the sparks did fly at times like March 19 in Rio Vallecano (1-0 win), when Felix went around the field in anger after being substituted by Uruguayan Luis Suarez (64), Simeone ended up pinning him.
Simeone summed it up after the match against Alaves by saying: “As long as he plays well, he will play. He’s shining, so he’s playing.”
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