One of the most notable signings for FC Barcelona in the last summer transfer window was that of Joao Felix. The Catalans had rarely been linked with him before the player himself confessed his desire to play for the Catalan club, and even then, signing him seemed like an impossible task keeping in view the player’s valuation and the club’s economic conditions.
However, the one thing that played at Barcelona’s hands and allowed the Blaugranes to get him on a free loan was his problematic career at Atletico Madrid.
The Mattress Makers had paid €126 million for the Portuguese forward, but the player struggled to justify this spending during his time at Atletico, and his last months at the club were particularly harsh.
Felix did not adapt to Atletico
According to Mundo Deportivo, Diego Simeone has recently talked about this time in particular with reference to Felix and disclosed that Atletico Madrid fans might not like Felix, and his club’s culture was not entirely in line with the player’s style:
“Those are opinions or personal gestures. It’s a question for him. The people at Atlético don’t appreciate it. We have a different culture, and when you don’t understand it, it’s hard to fit in.”
“If I am Argentine and I’m in Spain, I have to live as in Spain. Everything positive that happens to him is extraordinary for us. If he stays at Barcelona, there will be a significant income, and if he returns, we are here for three years for him to come back and improve upon what he’s learned elsewhere.”
Not a matter of attitude
The Atletico Madrid coach went on to clarify that it was not Felix’s attitude that his problems at the Madrid club sprang from:
“It’s unfair; he couldn’t give everything he would have liked. I don’t think that’s the issue. He couldn’t. He gave what he was capable of giving. Today, we see him in a good light, with a more responsive intention towards losing the ball, and more active in attack.”
“He has always been talented; it’s difficult for him to cover a lot of ground defensively. Anything positive that happens for Joao, we’ll be happy at Atlético because it’s also better for the club.”
After arriving at the club, Felix had clearly stated that he adapts better to Barcelona’s style of play than that of Atletico’s. Simeone also reacted to these statements in his recent interview:
“Everyone has their way of seeing the game. Time is the greatest architect of reality. What he said seemed accurate to me. He plays for Barcelona, to attack, he’s happy there and should be where he feels content. He made those statements before the start of the League. Perhaps now, he might say something different.”
After a promising start to life at Barcelona, Felix has struggled in recent games to find the back of the net. While he is still contributing to the team in other ways, recent reports indicate that he may not remain an undisputed starter for long, especially as Xavi will be looking to reincorporate Frenkie into the starting eleven when he returns from his injury.