Just three matches into his Barcelona stint and Joao Felix has already made a big impression.
Having arrived on loan on the transfer deadline day, the Portuguese international made his debut against Osasuna before the international break, coming on as a substitute.
After scoring for Portugal during the break, he returned to Barça and made his first start in the match against Real Betis, when he scored his first goal for the Catalans.
This was followed by an exceptional display against Royal Antwerp in the UEFA Champions League earlier this week, as he scored two and assisted one more.
Dream start at Barcelona
Felix spoke with Mundo Deportivo exclusively earlier this week and was asked about his spectacular start at Barcelona and whether he ever thought he would be kicking off things in this manner at the club.
“Let’s see, not that good, I honestly didn’t expect it. I thought, and I still think, that this is the ideal place for me but the truth is that things are going very, very well and I didn’t expect them to go so well,” he said in response.
“May they continue like this and may it be like this until the end.”
The idea of the move was planted when the 23-year-old declared his desire to join Barcelona during an interview with Fabrizio Romano.
At that point, though, Xavi was not entirely convinced about making a move for Felix, but eventually, he came around to the idea and things are working out well. When asked what the manager asks of him, the forward replied:
“He has told me from day one to play to enjoy myself, to play with joy and to put my football in there. Of course he asks me tactical things but above all he asks me to enjoy myself, to have fun, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
It has already been established that Joao Felix took a significant pay cut in order to join Barcelona this summer. In fact, it has been reported that the 23-year-old is on just €400,000 wages at the club.
Confirming that he did indeed reduce his salary and explaining his reasoning behind the move, Felix said:
“Yes, the truth is that I gave up a significant amount of money from my salary. But well, I needed a change, I needed to go somewhere where I could play my football and as I said I always thought this would be the ideal place.
“Things are going well and I had to make that effort to get back to the joy of playing.”
Felix also gave his two cents on fellow new signing and compatriot Joao Cancelo, hailing him as the best full-back he has played with.
“Very good, in terms of quality I think he has been the best full-back I have played with. He has the quality of a ’10’, he likes to play as a ’10’ and he says that when he finishes his career he is going to play as a ’10’ for his hometown team,” Felix said of Cancelo.
“He has an extraordinary quality, a very good player and he has contributed a lot to this team. Wherever he has gone he has always contributed, he has always won many titles and wherever he has gone the teams have always done very well.”
Simeone, Atletico, and permanent move
Joao Felix has been long heralded as one of the best young talents in the game, but he never quite lived up to the billing at Atletico Madrid in the past few seasons.
And, during the interview, he was asked about why he did not succeed under Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid to which he replied:
“That’s clear to everyone, football is like that, whoever is doing badly has to move on. I’ve done it before for Chelsea and I’ve done it now for Barcelona because I wasn’t good there.
“I didn’t adapt to the ideas of the club and the coach, but I’ve always tried to do the best I could and I’ve had very good moments there as well.”
With no permanent purchase option included in the loan agreement, Felix’s good performances could be an issue for Barcelona as Atletico could demand a significant fee next summer.
“Well, for me it depends on how the season ends. Then it’s up to Barcelona to negotiate with Atleti and then it’s up to Atleti, if they want to facilitate things or not. But that’s business stuff, about values, which I don’t get involved in.
“I do my job on the pitch, I try to do my best so that they want to sign me in the end and that’s not about values, about whether I go or not or for how much, it doesn’t concern me.”