Atlético Madrid on Thursday announced João Félix will be sidelined as he recovers from a fresh calf injury.
Félix took a blow to the leg during training Wednesday following his return from Portugal duty. The 22-year-old is virtually ruled out of next Wednesday’s critical Champions League game with AC Milan, and the early target date for his return is Dec. 12 against Real Madrid.
This is yet another setback for Félix, in an Atlético career that has featured several of them. The club’s record transfer labored through his debut season in Madrid, when he struggled for form and fought multiple right ankle injuries. Last season, he was playing as well as anyone in Europe until he re-injured that ankle and contracted COVID-19 in the spring.
After missing the opening three matches this season to recover from offseason surgery, Félix put together a string of good performances after a controversial red card against Athletic Club — culminating with his first goal in eight months, scored against Real Betis on Halloween.
But now, Félix is hurt again and is expected to miss several more games, while this newest problem might have Atlético supporters wondering if the player — young as he is — will ever reach his potential as a rojiblanco.
The silver lining to Félix’s injury is Ángel Correa should retain his position in the starting 11, and Matheus Cunha could see an uptick in minutes. The Brazil international joined Atlético from Hertha Berlin in a surprise deal over the summer, and Diego Simeone has yet to start him despite several energetic performances off the bench.