Joao Felix’s Atletico Madrid were eventually drawn against Manchester United in the Champions League last 16 on Monday.
The ties in early 2022 will see plenty of attention placed on Felix, who has struggled to live up to his £113 million transfer fee the Spanish side paid for him in 2019.
Speaking to The Mail last year, Felix explained: “I ended up choosing Atletico because it was the one I liked the most and I think it will give me the best conditions to progress in my career.”
Felix has unfortunately struggled to flourish. After netting 20 goals in his breakout season for Benfica, hopes were high for what he could bring to Atletico.
In two-and-a-half seasons at Atletico, he has 20 goals. Just one of these has come this season.
Felix’s problems have seen United linked
Felix’s lack of progress at Atletico have led to question marks over his future. Spanish newspaper AS report he has asked to leave the club.
Felix’s agent is Jorge Mendes, who also represents United superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes.
The 22-year-old is still a big talent, but with a struggle for goals, and Atletico slumping to fourth in La Liga, the pressure is on.
Atletico are being propped up by Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann in attack, and really needed Felix to show more progress by now.
He is on a long-term contract until 2026, and if Atletico did want to cash in, they would likely have to accept a big loss on his £113 million transfer fee.
Champions League draw opportunity
What the Champions League draw does do, is immediately quash speculation Felix could be sold to Manchester United in January. It already seemed pretty unlikely beforehand.
The tie does give Felix a chance to put himself in the shop window, for United, or any other interested clubs.
It would be typical poor luck for United for Felix to raise his game for the knockout ties, and show why he cost so much money in the first place.
Speaking to The Mail last year, Felix said: “Cristiano is a big influence for me, when we are with the national team, he always tries to give me and all of the young guys advice about work, motivation, everything.”
The Champions League ties with United could be when Joao Felix’s career turns around, or they could be the final straw for his Atletico Madrid career.
With United likely to want to add a forward next summer to replace Edinson Cavani, the matches could even become a prelude to a long-touted move to Old Trafford in 2022.
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