Atletico Madrid’s Diego Simeone rubbishes Joao Felix comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo

Joao Felix

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone does not think Joao Felix is a similar player to Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Nineteen-year-old Joao Felix became the second-most expensive teenager in world football when he joined Atletico from Benfica for €126 million (£113m/$141m) last month, a fee only eclipsed by those paid for Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Philippe Coutinho by Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona respectively.

The forward has enjoyed an encouraging pre-season under Simeone and got a goal and an assist in Thursday’s 3-0 friendly win over an MLS All-Stars side in Orlando.

The player admitted this week he would like to emulate the success of compatriot Ronaldo , a five-time Ballon d’Or winner and a league champion in England, Spain and Italy, but Simeone thinks there is little point comparing the two.

“No, I don’t think Joao Felix is like Cristiano,” he said.

“The reality is that he has a good game to observe. I’ve enjoyed watching him since he arrived. He has vision and good control going forward, which speaks well for his age and how he plays and how he reads the game.

“We are going to add situations to help him grow and become a better and stronger player in the way everyone thinks he will.

“I’m really pleased with all the new players. Felipe is growing, [Mario] Hermoso the same. To play all the new players together helps us to be able to get ready for what is coming, which is going to be tough.

“The team is working well. We’ve been together every day for more than 20 days. The new guys are making a big effort to catch on to what we want.”

Joao Felix himself was happy with his performance as a substitute as he scored his second goal for the club following a strike in the 7-3 International Champions Cup win over Real Madrid.

“I’m happy to score. I got two in my last two games and it makes me very pleased,” he said.

“I play as I always play. Adapting depends on the players. It’s just the start, although we’re doing well. We’ll work every day to have a good season.”

On his blossoming partnership with Diego Costa, having set up the striker for Atleti’s third goal, he added: “We understand each other well. We speak the same language and I hope to give him more assists.”

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