Laliga 2019/20: Just how good is Atletico Madrid's Joao Felix?
- The red-hot youngster lived up to his billing in his debut, is he capable of reaching greater heights?
When Antoine Griezmann announced his departure in May, the football world began to wonder if Atletico Madrid were slowly losing their big-club status. Club captain Diego Godin's move to Inter Milan and the departure of energetic players like Rodri and Lucas Hernandez meant that the Colchoneros needed a revamp. They needed to make sensible transfers that would suit Diego Simeone's system and simultaneously try signing the hottest prospects to make a statement of intent.
Atleti managed to achieve the latter by acquiring the services of 19-year-old Portuguese wonder kid Joao Felix for a club-record fee of €126million. Almost every top club in Europe was keen on signing him, but the fact that Atleti signed him indicates that they are on par with the European giants.
Last week, Atletico kick-started their La Liga campaign with a 1-0 win over Getafe. Felix had an impressive debut, where he continually created problems for Getafe's defense. His astute dribbling resulted in him winning a penalty for the Colcheneros, which Alvaro Morata unfortunately missed.
Felix's official debut in numbers:
- Minutes played: 66
- Shots: 1
- Dribbles completed: 2
- Passing accuracy: 81.3%
- Fouls won: 4
Role under Simeone
Felix will most likely start alongside Alvaro Morata as the second striker. Simeone will hope that the teenager has got his shooting boots on so that the entire goalscoring responsibilities aren't upon Morata's shoulders.
He can use his pace to stretch the opposition backline and drag defenders away from the box to give space for Thomas Lemar, Saul, and Koke to exploit. He is also good with his head and can contribute during the set pieces.
Felix will look to build upon his impressive debut when Atletico Madrid take a short trip to the outskirts of Madrid to face Leganes. It will be interesting to see how he'll link-up with the other reinforcements that Atleti made.
Simeone will look to instill a more eye-catching style of play with Felix at the heart of all the good stuff. It will be interesting to see Atleti's new and enterprising transformation.Published 22 Aug 2019, 19:19 IST