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Benfica's Joao Felix is hailed as the best talent in Portugal since Cristiano Ronaldo

Benfica starlet Joao Felix is the latest European sensation on the rise.
Benfica starlet Joao Felix is the latest European sensation on the rise.
Modified 27 May 2019, 12:02 IST

What's the story?

Benfica teenage sensation Joao Felix has been called as the most exciting teenager in Portugal since Cristiano Ronaldo by Jose Delgado, deputy director of Portuguese newspaper A Bola.

In case you didn't know...

Joao Felix started his career at Porto's youth academy and the youngster joined Benfica youth setup in 2015 as he was deemed "too skinny" by the coaches at Porto. He started showing his qualities at Benfica and became their youngest ever reserve team player at the age of 16 when he made his debut on September 16, 2016.

He has been consistently on the rise after his move to Benfica and the Portuguese starlet made his debut for Benfica first team as an 18-year-old after getting promoted to the first team this season. Since his debut, his performances have caught the eye of media and clubs all over the world.

He scored his first goal in a derby against Sporting Lisbon by scoring a header in the 86th minute after coming on as a substitute in the second half. He scored a hattrick in the Europa League quarter-final first leg against Eintracht Frankfurt making him the youngest Benfica player, youngest Portuguese player to score a hattrick in Europe and also the youngest player ever to do so in the competition.

The heart of the matter

His talent has impressed everyone in and around Portugal. People have been all praise about him. Former Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal said:

"Bernardo Silva is one of the best players in the world at this moment," the former Swansea boss BBC Sport.
"But at 19, he did not show the talent that Felix is showing at this moment at 19 - so imagine what kind of player we are talking about."
"Inside Benfica it was very clear he was the best talent in the academy," said Carvalhal.
"The transition to being a professional is not easy, but to him, it was so easy. When you see him off the pitch, talk with him, see him talk in the media, you can see a happy boy. The pressure to win is something he deals with very well."

Carvalhal continued:

"His characteristics are more near Kaka in my opinion, the way he drives the ball, connects play and his goals.
"Why is he so special? He's a mix between a nine and a 10, he plays like a second striker. He is a good header, even if he is not a massive player physically.
"He knows how to find space well in the last line of defence, that is why he scores a lot and he shoots well with both feet. When he must connect the game between attack and midfield he does so very well. He's a very good technical player.
"What makes him different is he is a number nine when he goes to the last line of defence and he scores goals. But he is also a very good player to connect the game between the lines, to assist and pass.
"That is why we are talking about the big clubs being interested in him. It is not a surprise to me because since the beginning we have been looking at a talented player. At 19 he needs to grow up and learn. If he stays at Benfica it would be a good place for him, but if he moves to another club, I hope he will go to a team and manager that understands the football that allows this kind of player to play."

What's next?

The starlet has been primarily linked to Manchester City and Manchester United this summer. There is also a chance that the youngster will play with Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus next season and with Juventus using Jorge Mendes to participate in negotiations, it very much remains to be a happening possibility.

The youngster has a release clause of €120 million and officials at Benfica have indicated that interested clubs must pay the entire amount in order to facilitate a transfer.

Published 27 May 2019, 12:02 IST
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