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Simeone says he “loves” rebels after João Félix “silence” gesture causes controversy

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The Portuguese made an unusual gesture after he scored his first goal in over a month.

João Félix caused a bit of a stir on Sunday night against Villarreal after he bagged his first goal in over a month for Atlético Madrid.

The Portuguese star cushioned the ball on his chest and slammed home to give Atlético a 2-0 lead on the night, but his actions after the goal have produced some curiosity — Félix turned toward Atlético’s bench and put his finger to his lips.

“I love the players who rebel and who are strong,” his coach Diego Simeone said after the game. “That’s what we need.”

The manager said he would ask Félix what the celebration was all about when he gets the chance and would decide whether or not to inform the media of what it was about.

The 21-year-old has suffered his fair share of criticism recently and has been in and out of the team, with little production to show for a few tepid performances. He was dropped from the team that played against Chelsea but came on at half-time Sunday after Thomas Lemar suffered a knee injury and was seen limping to his spot on the bench with a heavily-bandaged left leg.

Atlético will enter March atop LaLiga and play Real Madrid next weekend. Félix could start with Lemar out injured. How Simeone sees his striker’s gesture — and if there’s any fallout this week — could impact whether the Portuguese attacker cracks the 11 against Madrid.

Félix did not offer an explanation after the game.