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        Portuguese forward has endured tricky start in Spain

        João Félix named Golden Boy, but will he care?

        2019/11/29 00:08
        By Connor Andrews
        E0

        Just five months of regular first team football was all it took.

        Atletico Madrid were smitten, they’d seen enough. With Antoine Griezmann out the door on his way to Barcelona for €120 million, they had the perfect candidate in João Félix to send that money straight back out and keep their team strong.

        By all appearances, Atléti’s transfer window was a resounding success, considering how bad it could’ve been. Griezmann was accompanied on his way out by starters Lucas Hernández and Rodri, alongside club stalwarts Filipe Luis, Diego Godin and Juanfran.

        On paper, Atlético did what their fans craved. Not only was Félix in, so was Marcos Llorente to replace Rodri, Mario Hermoso and Felipe for Godin, and Kieran Trippier partnered with Renan Lodi as huge fullback upgrades.

        And although you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who puts any stock in pre-season, Atlético’s friendlies featured six wins on the bounce, including one over Juventus and a 7-3 over Real Madrid.

        Results might not mean much before the regular season, but performances do. A new squad seemingly had gelled quickly and won their three opening La Liga games to continue the trend, confirming them as many pundits’ pick to take the La Liga crown ahead of two of the worst Real Madrid and Barcelona sides in modern memory.

        Now though, Atléti are three points back of both with a game more played, and to add insult to injury, a Sevilla side that’s seen player turnover like no other, are two points ahead, leaving Diego Simeone excuseless for the first time in his eight year tenure.

        ©Getty /

        Félix returned at the weekend after missing six games through injury for another drab draw against Granada, and followed it up with a second-half cameo in a 1-0 defeat to Juventus that leaves Atléti’s place in the Champions League in jeopardy.

        Simeone has received strong criticism for turning flair players like Thomas Lemar and Gelson Martins into workhorses. And although Félix may, on the face of it, have made a sensible move to a regular Champions League side where he’s a guaranteed starter, the current malaise may prove too much for him to fix.

        ©Getty / Soccrates Images

        Félix has shown in his short career he has every asset to be one of the best in the world. His ability to score every type of goal, whilst fighting off whatever is thrown at him by defenders twice his size has drawn apt comparisons with former Atléti great Sergio Agüero.

        Agüero was named the 2007's European Golden Boy, the award Félix won yesterday, but much like the Argentine did over a decade ago, Aleti's new superstar has far more to worry about on the way to winning real silverware.

         

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