At 20, Joao Felix is one of La Liga’s most promising youngsters. After enjoying a fruitful season(2018-19) with Benfica, the teenager was roped in by Atletico Madrid in 2019 in order to bolster the side’s attacking line. Atletico Madrid stood second in the 2018-19 season. Joao Felix is a talented youngster with his whole life ahead of him. Atletico Madrid wanted a long-term prospect to lead the club’s attacking line. The club wanted to infuse some energy into the forward line, and the lad from Portugal came into the side as a breath of fresh air.
A lot of promise:
He grabbed a lot of eyeballs during his time at Benfica. With 15 goals in 26 matches during the 2018-19 season, Felix ended up as the Portuguese League’s joint fourth-highest goal scorer along with S.C. Braga’s Dyego Sousa. He was bestowed with the prestigious “ Golden Boy” award in November last year. The award seeks to recognize the most promising youngster in the world of football.
The Pundits have lauded the 20-year-old for his ability to score goals under pressure. Also, his control over the ball is phenomenal. He can trick just about any defender in the world if and when he is on song. The good thing about him is: he’s young and brimming with energy. He seems to have learnt a lot during his time with Benfica.
There is a lot of pressure at Atletico Madrid
Well, things are quite different at Atletico Madrid. At Benfica, there wasn’t much pressure, but Atletico Madrid is a much bigger club. Therefore, the expectations from Joao Felix will be immense. Atletico Madrid have been performing really well. The lads from Wanda Metropolitano have been in good form.
They stood second in 2018-19 (behind Barcelona). They were able to go past arch-rivals Real Madrid by eight points. Their recent victory against heavyweights Barcelona in the semi-final of Supercopa de Espana was greeted with great pomp and show.
We are halfway into the 2019-20 La Liga season, and Atletico Madrid stand third (on Jan 16). In 15 appearances for the club this season, the 20-year-old has found the net just twice. Well, you cannot expect a 20-something lad to go all guns blazing against the oppositions right from the word go. He needs time to get going, all of us do.
Speed and strength
Joao Felix is a genuinely talented lad. You don’t get to see such lads frequently. He can destroy the oppositions’ defensive lines within seconds. Also, his speed and strength cannot be taken for granted. No matter how good the opposition’s defence lines are, Joao Felix will score if and when he is in the best of forms. He can outplay his opponents in terms of speed. He is an able dribbler and can pass the ball with precision. Not to forget, he is an indomitable force when he counters.
Also, he is an aggressive player. Aggression is something that comes naturally to him. He is someone who can create scoring opportunities with a few deft touches, which means you can station him near the ‘D’ if need be.
The 2019-20 season
In 15 club appearances this season, the lad from Portugal has scored two goals. Well, the numbers might not be impressive, but Joao Felix’s game doesn’t revolve around numbers and stats. He believes in creating an everlasting impact. Fans, enthusiasts and supporters have witnessed bite-sized glimpses of his on-field brilliance this season, but the job is far from over. Atletico Madrid are left with 19 matches (as of Jan 16, 2020). Joao Felix needs to step up and score.
What does he need?
He needs to get along with the experienced pros in the side. The likes of Diego Costa and Alvaro Moratta are seasoned campaigners. They can teach a lot to the likes of Joao Felix. Do not field him at the beginnings. Ask the likes of Moratta and Diego Costa to set the game up. One of these two can be asked to score. Once a healthy lead is maintained, set Joao Felix free. Let him put his creativity to use. Throw him a challenge and see how he responds. Go one step at a time.
Let him express himself. The more he plays, the more he’ll get to learn. The management needs to be a bit patient. He needs time to adapt to the rigours and vigours of Spanish football. Things will get better with time.