Félix with Atlético Madrid in 2019
|Full name||João Félix Sequeira|
|Date of birth||10 November 1999|
|Place of birth||Viseu, Portugal|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|2014–2015||→ Padroense (loan)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:34, 12 January 2021 (UTC)|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 22:40, 17 November 2020 (UTC)
João Félix Sequeira ([ʒuˈɐ̃w ˈfɛliks];[n 1] born 10 November 1999) is a Portuguese professional footballer who plays as a forward for Spanish La Liga club Atlético Madrid and the Portugal national team. Widely considered as one of the best young players in the world and the heir of portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo.
He is known for his speed, finishing, creative, technique and his dribbling and he can also play as a winger or an attacking midfielder. He is also often referred to as Menino de Ouro (The Golden Boy) by the Portuguese and Spanish sports media.
Félix initially trained at Porto's youth ranks before moving to rivals Benfica in 2015. He began playing for the latter's reserve team a year later and was promoted to the first-team in 2018, making his professional debut at age 17. He then starred as a goalscorer and helped Benfica win the league title in his first and only season with them, and was awarded Primeira Liga's Best Young Player of the Year and the Golden Boy award. Internationally, he became the youngest ever player to score a hat-trick in the UEFA Europa League, aged 18.
Félix's performances sparked the interest of several European clubs, with Atlético Madrid signing him in 2019 for a club-record transfer worth €126 million (£113 million), the fourth-most expensive football transfer, the second-most ever paid for a teenager and the highest fee for a Portuguese player leaving the domestic league. Shortly after, Félix was listed among the shortlist for the Ballon d'Or and finished third for the Kopa Trophy in 2019.
Félix is a former Portugal youth international, representing his country at under-18, under-19, and under-21 levels. He earned his first cap for the senior national team, during the semi-finals of the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals, won by Portugal on home soil.
Born in Viseu, Félix started playing football at Os Pestinhas in 2007 before joining the youth ranks of FC Porto a year later, aged eight. After Félix moved to Porto, he faced some challenges such as extensive schedules that included daily shuttle hours between Viseu and Porto. He moved out of his parents' house aged twelve to live near Porto's youth training grounds; in a later interview, Félix revealed that during this time he considered quitting football due to the lack of playing time, but his father convinced him on pursuing his career. Félix was released by Porto in 2014 because of his slight frame and moved on to Lisbon rivals Benfica in 2015, aged 15, after a season-long loan at Padroense.
Félix debuted professionally at the age of 16 for Benfica's reserve team in LigaPro on 17 September 2016, coming on as an 83rd-minute substitute for Aurélio Buta in a goalless draw at Freamunde. In doing so, he became the youngest player to debut for Benfica B. He played 13 matches and scored three goals over the season, the first being a consolation in a 2–1 loss to his hometown team Académico de Viseu on 15 February 2017. Later, on 30 January 2018, he scored a hat-trick in a 5–0 home win over Famalicão. During that season, Félix played in the 2016–17 UEFA Youth League, in which he was a key part of Benfica reaching the final of the competition, lost to Red Bull Salzburg (2–1); he scored six goals in the tournament.
Félix was then promoted to Benfica's first team for the 2018–19 season, making his debut in a 2–0 Primeira Liga win at Boavista on 18 August. A week later, he scored his first Primeira Liga goal, thus becoming the youngest player to score in the Lisbon derby, which ended in a 1–1 tie. On 16 January 2019, he scored the qualifying goal against Vitória de Guimarães in the Portuguese Cup quarter-finals. After Bruno Lage took over as coach of Benfica, his first decision was to use Félix more regularly, partnering him with Haris Seferović in the attack. Later on, Félix was praised for his performance in a 4–2 away win over Sporting CP in the league on 3 February, subsequently sparking interest from several European clubs. A month later, he scored the equaliser in a 2–1 away win over Porto in the league.
On 11 April 2019, Félix scored a hat-trick in a 4–2 UEFA Europa League win over Eintracht Frankfurt. In doing so, he became the youngest ever player (aged 19 years and 152 days) to score a hat-trick in the competition, breaking Marko Pjaca's record by 67 days. Félix finished his first season with 20 goals for his team, including one on the final day of the league campaign, in a 4–1 win over Santa Clara to seal the title; his 15 league goals put him joint-fourth for the season. Across Europe's seven best leagues, he ranked second among teenagers for goals and assists, behind Kai Havertz and Jadon Sancho, respectively.
2019–20: Debut season
On 3 July 2019, Félix signed a seven-year contract with Spanish club Atlético Madrid for a transfer fee of €126 million (£113 million), the fourth highest sum ever paid in football (this was also Benfica's biggest transfer and Atlético's most expensive signing ever) as well as the second highest fee ever paid for a teenager (after Kylian Mbappé), with the Spanish club initially paying €30 million and the rest €96 million via installments, thus surpassing Félix's €120 million release clause, and with Benfica paying €12 million in mediation services. Upon his arrival to the club he was handed the number 7 shirt, previously worn by Antoine Griezmann.
Félix made his competitive debut on 19 August, in a 1–0 victory over Getafe. Despite not scoring a goal, he managed to win a penalty for Atlético after being fouled inside the box, which Álvaro Morata subsequently failed to convert, however. On 25 August, Félix provided an assist for Vitolo in a 1–0 away win over against CD Leganés. He scored his first La Liga goal on 1 September, in a 3–2 victory over Eibar; he was later substituted in the 84th minute for Thomas Partey. On 1 October, Félix scored his first UEFA Champions League goal and set up another goal in a 2–0 away victory against Lokomotiv Moscow, becoming the youngest goalscorer for Atlético Madrid in the competition in the process, at 19 years of age. On 19 October, Félix suffered an ankle injury against Valencia, after a rash challenge by Dani Parejo, leaving his team with only ten men on the pitch, as his coach Diego Simeone had already made the maximum number of allowed substitutions. Initially, Simeone thought that his injury was not too serious, until the club's medical team revealed that the ankle injury could be severe, leading him to be sidelined for one month. Félix made his return on 23 November in a 1–1 away draw against Granada CF. During this time, Félix was one of the 30 candidates who was nominated for the 2019 Ballon d'Or.
On 27 November 2019, he became the second Portuguese player, after Renato Sanches, to win the Golden Boy Award for the best player in Europe under the age of 21, ahead of Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho. In December, Félix placed 28th place in the voting polls for the 2019 Ballon d'Or. Over the following months, Félix started to have difficulties in adapting to Diego Simeone's playing style, with Simeone trying to find his ideal position either as a right winger or second striker; he also struggled with the fact that the forwards under Simeone are expected to press their opponents frequently when playing off the ball, which often left him drained during match, while when in possession, he was also unable to create scoring chances, leading Spanish newspaper Marca to name him one of the most disappointing transfers of the season.
On 9 January 2020, Félix made his debut in the Supercopa de España, starting in a 3–2 victory against Barcelona in the semi-final of the competition. During the match, Félix was involved in an altercation with Jordi Alba and his teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez. On 12 January, Atlético Madrid lost to their rivals Real Madrid 4–1 on penalties in the final. On 23 January, Félix made his Copa del Rey debut in the Round of 32, providing an assist for Ángel Correa in a 2–1 loss against Cultural Leonesa. Three days later, Félix suffered a second injury to his leg in a 0–0 home draw against CD Leganés, sidelining him once again for a month, and leading him to miss to Atlético Madrid's next three league matches, which included the second Madrid Derby of the season and Atlético Madrid's first leg of their round of 16 Champions League against defending champions Liverpool. He made his return on 23 February, replacing Vitolo in the 57th minute, and scoring the third goal in a 3–1 home victory against Villarreal. On 11 March 2020, during extra time in the second leg of the Champions League round-of-16 tie away to Liverpool, Félix provided an assist for Marcos Llorente in an eventual 3–2 win, which saw his team qualify to the quarterfinals of the competition. On 25 May, it was announced that Félix suffered an injury on his left knee, leading him to be sidelined at least three weeks. On 13 August, he scored a penalty against RB Leipzig to equalize, in an eventual 2–1 defeat in the Champions League quarter-finals, ending the season there.
On 27 September 2020, in Atlético's La Liga opening fixture, Félix scored, provided an assist and managed to win a penalty for his side after being fouled inside the box (which Saúl Ñíguez subsequently failed to convert), in Atlético's 6–1 win against Granada. On 27 October, he scored a brace in a 3–2 win over Red Bull Salzburg in the 2020–21 UEFA Champions League. Following back-to-back braces against Osasuna and Cádiz in La Liga, he was named the league's Player of the Month for November 2020. On 1 December, Félix scored against European champions Bayern Munich as his side drew 1–1.
On 14 June 2017, Félix began his international career with Portugal's under-18 team, debuting against Norway, replacing Elves Baldé in the 58th minute. In this friendly match, Félix scored two goals in a 3–0 victory in Lisbon. On 10 October 2017, Félix debuted for Portugal's under-21 team for the qualification of the 2019 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, in a 3–1 defeat against Bosnia and Herzegovina, replacing Xadas in the 56th minute.
On 15 January 2018, Félix debuted for Portugal's under-19 team as a 27th minute substitute for an injured Jorge Teixeira in a 2–1 win over Turkey. On 23 March 2018, Félix scored his first international goal for Portugal's under-21 team in a 7–0 thrashing of Liechtenstein. In the end of the qualification process, he had scored four goals, helping guide Portugal to the play-offs. In the first leg of the play-offs, Portugal faced Poland in a 1–0 away victory, but eventually lost in the second leg in a 3–1 home defeat, failing to qualify for the tournament.
During his international youth career, Félix would go on to represent the under-18, under-19 and under-21 teams, amassing 14 youth caps and scoring 6 goals overall.
On 15 March 2019, manager Fernando Santos called up Félix to the senior team for the first time, ahead of the opening UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying matches. During training with the national squad, Félix injured his foot and thus missed Portugal's match against Serbia on 25 March.
Félix was also selected for the 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals squad on home soil. He made his international debut for the senior team on 5 June against Switzerland in the semi-finals, where he was substituted in the 71st minute of a 3–1 win. Four days later, Portugal defeated Netherlands 1–0 in the tournament's final. He scored his first international goal on 5 September 2020 in a 4–1 home win over Croatia in the UEFA Nations League.
Style of play
Considered by Benfica to be one of the most promising players to have emerged from their youth ranks, in addition to being regarded by pundits as one of the most talented young players in world football, Félix is a highly skilful and technical player, who is capable of playing in several offensive positions, due to his versatility; throughout his career, he has been deployed as a striker, as a second striker, or even as a winger, although his primary position is that of an attacking midfielder. With Benfica, Félix usually played as a second striker in a 4–4–2 formation, where he was tasked with linking up the midfield with the attack, as well as creating opportunities for the team's main striker, while also being given the freedom to make runs into the box and score goals himself. With Atlético Madrid, he has occasionally played in a similar role, but has often been deployed as a right winger in the team's 4–4–2 formation. A quick and intelligent player, with an eye for goal, his primary traits are his speed, creativity, finishing, touch on the ball, and dribbling skills, as well as his vision and precise passing. His playing style has led him to be compared to Brazilian former playmaker Kaká and former Benfica players Rui Costa and João Pinto; he has also been likened by some in the media to compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as former Atlético Madrid forwards Sergio Agüero and Antoine Griezmann. Regarding Félix's playing style, in 2019 Rui Costa praised the youngster for his "understanding of the game," and his "ability to know where to be in front of goal."
Félix's parents, Carlos (father) and Carla (mother), are both teachers. He has a younger brother, Hugo, who plays for Benfica youth ranks. Growing up, Félix's idols were Kaká and Rui Costa, the latter a player he looked to emulate. Félix is in a relationship with Portuguese actress Margarida Corceiro.
- As of match played 12 January 2021.
|Club||Season||League||National Cup[a]||League Cup[b]||Europe||Other||Total|
|Atlético Madrid||2019–20||La Liga||27||6||1||0||—||6[d]||3||2[e]||0||36||9|
- As of match played 17 November 2020
- As of 17 November 2020. Scores and results list Portugal's goal tally first, score column indicates score after each Félix goal.
|1||5 September 2020||Estádio do Dragão, Porto, Portugal||6||Croatia||3–0||4–1||2020–21 UEFA Nations League A|
|2||11 November 2020||Estádio da Luz, Lisbon, Portugal||11||Andorra||7–0||7–0||Friendly|
|3||17 November 2020||Stadion Poljud, Split, Croatia||13||Croatia||2–1||3–2||2020–21 UEFA Nations League A|
- Primeira Liga Player of the Month: January 2019
- SJPF Young Player of the Month: January 2019
- UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season: 2018–19
- CNID Best Revelation Footballer of the Year: 2019
- Primeira Liga's Best Young Player of the Year: 2018–19
- Golden Globes: 2019 Best Newcomer
- A Bola Player of the Year: 2019
- Golden Boy: 2019
- Globe Revelation Player: 2019
- Ballon d'Or: 2019 (28th place)
- Kopa Trophy: 3rd place (2019)
- La Liga Player of the Month: November 2020
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- A Bola TV. Entrevista a João Félix- Jogador do ano para o jornal A BOLA. YouTube. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
- "Cristiano Ronaldo e João Félix ganham Globe Soccer Awards". Jornal de Notícias. 29 December 2019. Retrieved 29 December 2019.
- "The complete ranking of the Ballon d'Or France Football 2019". France Football. 2 December 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
- "De Ligt wint Kopa Trophy voor 's werelds beste speler tot 21 jaar". NU.nl (in Dutch). 2 December 2019. Retrieved 2 December 2019.
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