The Portuguese has done his best to ruin his relationship with Diego Simeone and Rojiblancos fans by publicly pushing for a move to Camp Nou
“Some people are born with an innate talent that they show from a young age. Writers, painters, sculptors, sportsmen… The word that best describes Joao [Felix] is ‘talent’. At 19, he has a great career ahead of him and we’re proud that he chose the Red & White colours.”
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo thought he’d completed one of the coups of the century when Felix’s €126 million (£111m/$143m) transfer from Benfica was confirmed in July 2019. Every top club in Europe had been tracking Felix’s progress at Estadio Da Luz, but he decided that Atleti offered him “the best conditions to progress”.A series of muscle injuries prevented Felix from making a significant impact and living up to comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo at the Metropolitano in 2019-20, but he didn’t regret his decision. “I just play to have fun,” he added in an interview with Benfica TV. “You don’t have to think you’re going to be the next Ronaldo or that you’re going to win this or that. You just have to have fun and enjoy the moment to the fullest.”
Simeone has always made sure that Atletico punch above their weight, instilling a sense of discipline and resilience in his squad along with a will to win by any means necessary. But ‘fun’ is not a word that has generally been associated with the Los Rojiblancos over the past decade.
Felix and Atletico never seemed like the right match, and so it has proved, despite his respectable haul of 34 goals and 16 assists across the last four seasons. The 23-year-old has played 131 games for Atletico to date, but he’s failed to establish himself as a vital cog in Simeone’s line up.
Indeed, he fell out of favour almost entirely in the first half of the 2022-23 campaign, completing a full 90 minutes in La Liga just once, and Atletico jumped at the chance to send him out on loan when Chelsea came calling.
Felix also failed to convince at Stamford Bridge, and it was no surprise when the Blues decided against trying to make his switch permanent. Speculation over his future has been raging since his return to Atleti, where he is still under contract until 2027.
But instead of working to get his career back on track in the Spanish capital, Felix has turned traitor by issuing a come-and-get-me plea to Atleti’s arch-rivals, Barcelona…
Felix has made it crystal clear that he does not want to spend another year on Atletico’s books. After being forced to train with the academy squad on the first day of pre-season, the Portugal international decided to take matters into his own hands.
“I’d love to play for Barca,” Felix revealed to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano. “Barcelona has always been my first choice and I’d love to join Barca. It was always my dream since I was a kid. If it happens, it will be a dream come true for me.”
According to ESPN, Atletico officials had no idea Felix was planning to speak publicly, and they’re furious with the timing of his comments. Simeone has a huge task on his hands to make his team La Liga title contenders again, with Barca and Real Madrid threatening to pull away after strengthening their respective squads in the summer market.
The last thing Simeone needs is to be worrying about the club’s mutinous, spoiled and downright ungrateful record signing. And it appears he is ready to cut Felix loose to avoid any further distractions.”The most important thing is that none of us in the team is more important than Atletico Madrid,” the Argentine tactician said from the club’s training camp in South Korea. “Atleti is much more important than all of us. When we arrived at this club, the values