Former Atletico Madrid and Manchester United star Diego Forlan believes Joao Felix can reach the next level if he leaves the Spanish capital.
Felix, 23, was signed by Atletico from Benfica in an eye-watering £113million deal three-and-a-half years ago but has failed to repay that fee. He’s scored just 33 goals for Diego Simeone’s side and it’s believed they will accepted an £86m offer for his services.
United are said to be interested in the Portuguese and Forlan, who played for the Red Devils between 2002 and 2004, thinks Felix should take the plunge. “Felix is a very good player, he is young and has a lot of quality,” Folan told reporters
WHAT HAPPENED? Forlan has compared the Portugal forward to Philippe Coutinho, who he played with briefly at Inter but who he feels benefitted from his move to Liverpool in 2012. The Uruguayan believes the same could be said for Felix, who could “increase his performance” away from Atletico, with United among those being strongly linked with his services.
WHAT THEY SAID: “Joao Felix is a very good player, he is young and has a lot of quality,” Forlan told reporters after watching Portugal beat Uruguay in the 2022 World Cup group stage. “They paid a lot of money for him and he has not been playing as expected, but he is still very young. There are reports coming out about the possibility of him leaving Atletico and, if he leaves, he could even increase his performance. I believe in that. It happens a lot. It happened, for example, with Philippe Coutinho, who played very little at Inter and when he went to Liverpool he improved a lot.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Felix has two goals and three assists to his name in all competitions for Atletico in 2022-23, and he announced himself in Qatar almost immediately. The 23-year-old scored in Portugal’s opening day 3-2 victory against Ghana, forming part of Portugal’s formidable attack which also includes United playmaker Bruno Fernandes.
DID YOU KNOW? Felix’s strike against Ghana made him the third youngest Portuguese to score in the World Cup (23y 13d) after Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006 (21y 132d) and António Simoes in 1966 (22y 217d).
WHAT NEXT FOR FELIX? While Portugal have already qualified from Group H, Felix and Co. still need a point against South Korea on Friday to go through as group winners.