Signed by the modest sum of 126 million euros on the last transfer window from Benfica, João Félix is taking a long time to confirm all of his potential playing for Atlético de Madrid.

DISAPPOINTMENTS IN THE VALUE OF 346M€

The young Portuguese was, that way, put alongside Antoine Griezmann and Eden Hazard on the list of biggest flops of the season in European football.

Radio Marca recently started a discussion about the performance of the three most expensive signings of La Liga, from the 2019 Summer transfer window.

The name of João Félix appeared straight way, since the player that belonged to Benfica, was the most expensive one (126 million euros). The Portuguese has 2417 minutes played for Atlético de Madrid, with a record of 8 goals scored in 34 matches.

As for the French Antoine Griezmann, he stood out on the 2018 World Cup title for the French national team, since he switched Atlético for Barcelona for 120 million euros, having 3255 minutes played and 15 goals scored by the “culés”.

Finally, the Belgian Eden Hazard, who has been affected by injuries a bit throughout the entire season, and he is taking some time to make up for the 100 million euros investment, paid by Real Madrid to Chelsea. In 1392 minutes of utilization, the winger only scored 1 goal, having played in 19 matches.

FÉLIX “SULKED”, SIMEONE REQUESTS FOR MORE TIME

Accused by the Spaniards of being too individualistic within the pitch and not always having the competitive attitude and the uncontrolled commitment demanded by Simeone, João Félix gained some emphasis on the sporting press after the match against Mallorca, of the penultimate round of La Liga, that Atlético won by 3-0.

Replaced by Ángel Correa at the 54th minute, the Portuguese striker didn’t react well, having thrown a ball to the stands as he headed towards the bench. Now we just need to know if the frustration was due to the manager’s decision or due to his own performance.

“Time”, “tranquillity” and “process”. Those were the most important words about Diego Simeone’s statements regarding João Félix, that even deserved a confidence reinforcement from “El Cholo” in public:

«talent he has, unquestionably, we can all see that. Then there’s another thing that, combined, makes him an important player, which is being humble, hard-working, well educated, respectable and getting along well with the entire group”.

HAS GOING TO MADRID BEEN THE BEST OPTION?

Knowing about how difficult it might be for a young player to refuse a millionaire contract, I honestly struggle to understand João Félix’s choice for Atlético.

It’s true that the team from the Spanish capital is going through a transition period and they’ve signed the youngster from Benfica as a potential replacement for Griezmann, who was a stand-out player for the team on the 5 previous seasons, offering him, immediately the possibility of taking on a “star” status from the inside out.

Still, wouldn’t it have been a better option to opt for taking the risk (always associated with potential injuries, etc.) of continuing another year in Portugal and then head towards a more attractive destination both financially and in sport terms abroad?

There were plenty of rumours that, for example, Manchester City had a strong interest in signing João Félix. With Guardiola, the playstyle of the former English champion would perfectly fit the characteristics of the former Benfica player, in my opinion.

In Madrid, Félix is taking some time to confirm his potential, maybe due to the difficulty there is to adapt to a much more muscular football, although with a clear attempt, from Simeone, to readjust a clearly defensive mentality (that paid off as we all known) toa more proactive less reactive style.

GRIEZMANN SILENCES THE CRITICS IN VILLREAREAL WITH ART

After coming off the bench in 3 of Barcelona’s 4 previous matches (with only 21 minutes played overall), Antoine Griezmann earned the right of some special attention in the Spanish media and overall wherever football is discussed.

As an example, on the draw (2-2) against Atlético, that delayed Barcelona even more on the title race, Setién launched Griezmann… at the 90th minute. Of course, there was plenty of criticism to the manager, that on the previous match, in Vigo (another 2-2 against Celta), where he waited for the 81st minute to put the French player on the pitch.

Against Villarreal, the Catalan manager has succumbed to the pressure and utilized the French striker on the starting line-up. The answer could hardly be better, since Griezmann had a direct intervention on Pau Torres’ own goal right at the 3rd minute and he would shine, as the match was heading to half-time, with a “lob” that was a goal of the year contender.

The effusive celebrations alongside Lionel Messi, who assisted the French player for Barcelona’s 1-3 have refuted the rumours that were heading towards the encounter of personal problems between the two “superstars”.

However, there is the possibility of the “culés” proposing a deal to Juventus, that sends Griezmann to Turin and make other players join Miralem Pjanic, who is already confirmed in Barcelona in 20/21, in the Catalunya.

HAZARD’S PLIGHT

Considered a potential Ballon D’Or contender on the past season, Eden Hazard hasn’t been having an easy life in Madrid.

Signed by Chelsea from Lille by 35 million euros, in 2012, the Belgian winger reached his peak potential and his career at the service of the “blues”, in 2018/19.

That’s a very high performance level in the Premier League, seen by many as the best and most demanding league in the world, which led Real Madrid to spend something like 100 million euros to be able to count with Hazard, appointed as the natural replacement for
Cristiano Ronaldo at the “merengues” – not only due to the number 7 on the shirt.

The biggest “flops” of European football in 2020

Coming to the final stretch of the 19/20 season, Hazard missed more matches (23) than the ones he played for Real Madrid (19). Affected by injuries during the entire season, it is natural that the adaptation to the reality of Spanish football hasn’t been the best.

The next season, however, is promising, even because the talented 29-year old Belgian is superb and acknowledged worldwide.

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