An “imposter”? No, Roy. Just a very injured player.
João Félix is set to have a procedure on his right ankle in Portugal this Thursday, according to the Madrid daily Marca. The report claims that Atlético Madrid’s young striker will be out for two months, meaning he will miss the preseason and the start of the league champions’ title defense in August. However, Italian journalist Matteo Moretto claims that Félix will miss one month, not two.
Félix played 35 minutes in Portugal’s 1-0 loss to Belgium in Seville on Sunday, which saw the reigning European champions crash out of EURO 2020 in the last 16. The 21-year-old took some time to get into the game — his first competitive action since Atlético clinched LaLiga on May 22 — but he looked lively, managing three shots and drawing two fouls.
But that decent half-hour did little to mask the fact that Félix has been fighting through ankle problems since last December, with Marca saying that the player has been receiving treatment since a Champions League home game against Bayern Munich. Félix did not score a goal for Atlético after February, and he aggravated his sore ankle on international duty in March and in a draw at Real Betis in April.
Problems to the same ankle cost Félix several games in 2019/20, too, so it sounds like player and club have finally decided that this is the time for an operation to clean up everything — even if it costs Félix the first few games of next season.
The surgery is unlikely to alter Atlético’s plans this summer — Félix is off the table unless a club dares to meet his €350 million release clause. Atleti will push ahead with plans to acquire a Luis Suárez backup and finalize the Rodrigo De Paul transfer after the Copa America.