João Félix Exacts Revenge on Atlético Madrid with the Decisive Goal in Barca’s Hard-Fought 1-0 Win
After his failed loan spell with Chelsea and months of being on the sideline during the transfer season, João Félix has silenced his doubters in the Barca shirt and took it a step even further today as he scored the only goal against his parent club, Atlético Madrid. Despite the prospect of third facing fourth, João Félix dominated the headlines heading into this game with comments from former teammate Antoine Griezmann labelling the 24-year-old was inconsistent during his four-year spell with the club and Diego Simeone claiming that anyone can have a good game once in a while. How much would they like to eat their words when João Félix did not hesitate to celebrate against his parent club?
João Félix Explains Celebration Against Atlético Madrid
João Félix is not the most modest of players, and it showed today as the Portuguese star leapt onto the advertising board and imitated Jude Bellingham’s iconic celebration after dinking the ball over Jan Oblak from a tight angle in the 28th minute of the match. With the bad blood surrounding João Félix and Atlético Madrid, it came as no surprise, and the Portuguese star even walked past Diego Simeone without a look during his departure before embracing his current coach, Xavi, and applauding the ovation he received from the home fans.
In his post-match conference, he explained he simply let it all out after scoring. “People have been talking about me all week, but I don’t pay attention to that. I’m just doing my job. I don’t care what people say, and I work every day to become better. The celebration was spontaneous. It was a release of what I had been through last summer. Only the people close to me know what I have lived. I just let it go for everything that happened to me and my family. That’s for myself, my teammates and Barca, who have welcomed me.”
As for the experience of facing his former club and the win, João Félix replied: “We knew it was a very important game, a very hard game, it’s never easy against Atletico. It was a very big win for us. Yes, of course, I had extra motivation. To see my former teammates, they’ve always helped me. It was a special game, but I’m happy with the win. I know I received Rapha’s pass, and then I think it was the only way to score, to go over Oblak. I was happy with it.”
Barcelona Stays In Touch with Joint Leaders Real Madrid and Girona
With João Félix’s decisive goal, reigning champions Barcelona move above their opponents today, Atlético Madrid, to third place in La Liga. However, they are still off the pace as they sit four points off the top two, Real Madrid and Girona, who won their respective matches on matchday 15.
Moreover, Atlético Madrid could have a chance to leapfrog Barcelona back to third as they still have a game in hand over the Catalan Giants. While it is still early to discuss goal differences, the missed chances from Robert Lewandowski, whose best moment of the game was when he told the security not to take the pitch invader until he took a selfie with the kid first, could come back to haunt them.
Atlético Madrid themselves would also be kicking themselves as they failed to overcome Iñaki Peña Sotorres, who came in for the injured Marc-André ter Stegen. However, to the keeper’s credit, he was phenomenal today, with Xavi even giving him a ten out of ten performance for his extraordinary saves against Memphis Depay and Alvaro Morata.
João Félix’s Future Looks Brighter Than Ever
Once labelled as a wonderkid during his time in Benfica, João Félix himself would admit to not living up to the expectations. While it can be attributed to the defensive playstyle of Atlético Madrid, the Portuguese did not shine when given the opportunities and went on loan to Chelsea after a relationship breakdown with the club.
During his time with the Blues, we could see glimpses of the Portuguese magician, but it eventually did not surface enough for the Blues to consider buying him out. However, Barcelona could prove the theory of the third time the charm as João Félix has played exceptionally and is instrumental in the team’s success in La Liga and the Champions League.
While reports widely suggest Barcelona would definitely take João Félix as a permanent player, he still needs to perform on a weekly basis if he hopes to reignite his career as one of the best players in the world. To catch up on the latest footballing news around the globe, follow AsiaSport for daily updates and high-definition highlights of your favourite teams.