As written on Monday, João Félix will undergo ankle surgery this week to alleviate pain the Portuguese player has been suffering through for the last six months.
The 21-year-old has decided, along with Atlético Madrid, that now is the best time to fix the lingering issue and minimize disruption ahead of next season. Dutch surgeon Cornelis Nicolaas Van Dijk will perform the operation.
Atlético will give Félix three weeks off after the surgery before a return to training, where he will be slowly brought back up to speed. The surgery will keep him out for up to two months, with more optimistic outlooks suggesting it will be just four immobile weeks for the forward. Atlético will be mindful of the player’s history of ankle injuries as they get him back in shape.
Portugal’s Record reported after the news came down that Félix has been nursing a fractured foot since December, which explains his poor form in the second half of 2020/21.
The young attacker was vilified after Portugal’s 1-0 loss to Belgium on Sunday, during which he entered as a sub and failed to make an impact as they searched for an equaliser. Roy Keane called Félix “an imposter” after one poor effort following his entry into the match.
Roy Keane had some strong words for Joao Felix today against Belgium pic.twitter.com/QtzH9Y3VBX— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 27, 2021
João Félix’s checkered injury history
In one way, Félix’s injury and surgery will come as a relief to Atlético fans.
It explains the attacker’s lack of form and his inability to break into Diego Simeone’s side consistently last season. While few Atlético supporters would go to the extremes Keane did in their criticism, there has been a creeping sense that they would never see the best of Félix in a red and white shirt.
Félix first sprained his ankle against Valencia in October 2019. That injury kept him out for 31 days and he missed six matches. He hurt his ankle again last summer, and yet again in March of this year. After the most recent ankle injury, he did not start any of the remaining seven games in the league and assisted just one goal — an important one, against Osasuna, for Renan Lodi.
The conservative treatment of Félix concealed injury didn’t work and now it’s a chance for the player to regain his fitness and his form ahead of what will be another gruelling season under Simeone’s orders. The LaLiga title victory last season was sweet for rojiblancos fans, but Cholo and Atlético’s directors still dream of European success. A fit and happy João Félix could push them over the line in the one competition that continues to elude them.