João Félix believes a year without injuries could see him enter the “best young player in Europe” discussion alongside Kylian Mbappé and Erling Haaland.
The Portuguese star has suffered a number of frustrating injuries during his time at Atlético Madrid and has failed to make the kind of impact he would like. He still believes there’s time to change that and become one of the best in the world.
“I can get there [at the level of Mbappé and Haaland],” he said during an interview with TNT Sports. “I haven’t shown my best yet. In the last few years, I have had injuries and I haven’t had a full year without injuries.
“When I do get a year without injuries, I will be able to fight for a place there [with Mbappé and Haaland].”
The 21-year-old underwent ankle surgery during the summer to relieve pain that had troubled him for over six months. He started this season sidelines but has slowly worked his way into fitness. And in the last two games, he has shown how good he can be when healthy.
Félix played 50 minutes against AC Milan and essentially changed the game when he came on with Atlético trailing. Then he started and starred against Barcelona during a 2-0 win at the Wanda Metropolitano before the international break.
Diego Simeone has been delighted with the form of Atlético’s most-expensive signing ever.
“I liked João a lot the other day too, that’s why he started. We expect him to play like he did in the first half, he’s a player who has the potential to become a real great, that’s what we need from him.
“When the first half ended, I went over to João and told him, ‘that’s what you need to do’,” he said after the Barcelona game.
The young attacker is happy too, but explained he needs to start converting chances.
“I was good, but I need a goal,” he said after the game. “I think people enjoyed it, but I want to carry on like that.”