|Desc||Atletico Madrid’s Joao Felix has been named as the 2019 winner of the Golden Boy award, an honour recognising the finest footballer in the world aged 21 or under for their achievements over the past year. The teenager joins a long list of precocious talents to have received the award since it’s creation in 2003|
|Org||xxxx National Team|
|Club as Player||Atletico Madrid|
2020 01 21 Retrieve
[q: Benfica are unstoppable: 14 league wins in a row, victory in the derby against Sporting CP and seven points clear of Porto. Did you expect this start?] It couldn’t have gone much better. We lost at home to Porto, but we’ve won all the others
[q: Benfica dominate Portugal - they’ve won five of the last six league titles - but they still haven’t put a Champions League run together. What’s missing?] Benfica are a strong team, with a good academy, but great players have left us and it’s difficult to counteract it. [Other] clubs pay a lot, but we’re signing well and we hope to go further in the Europa League
[q: Gedson Fernandes (Tottenham Hotspur) has been the latest academy player to leave, but the list is long: Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Nelson Semedo, Renato Sanches… What is the secret?] It’s the credit of the president and of Benfica, who take good care of their young players. The facilities and everything that surrounds the club is magnificent and that helps
[q: Who is the next pearl?] We have very good young players. Tomas Tavares, a right-back, can be the next pearl, but there are others with lots of quality at the club
[q: Benfica have earned one billion euros from player sales since 2009. Do you see them as a stepping stone?] Yes, it’s one of the reasons why I came to Benfica. They take good care of their players, they win trophies and they help you make the jump to LaLiga or the Premier League, leagues that we like.
[q: You’ve shared a dressing room with Joao Felix. What is needed for him to succeed at Atletico Madrid?] I think he needs to settle in. [Diego] Simeone and Atletico’s system is complicated and different from Benfica 9484afd5836d307b314a404d745a9a68. He needs time, but Joao is a great player and I don’t doubt that he’ll succeed at any club.
[q: Raul de Tomas has left Benfica. What happened?] It’s not easy to play for Benfica. He didn’t have the luck, he left for Espanyol and I wish him the best. Raul is a great player
[q: Would Mariano Diaz fit in at Benfica?] We think so, but Raul, who is a great player, found it difficult. He would have to work hard.
[q: You were at the Barcelona academy with Sergi Roberto, Rafinha Alcantara, Marc Bartra… Was it hard to leave Barcelona?] Yes. I spent many years at the club and I was comfortable in one of the biggest academies in the world, but I had to take the next step in my career. Benfica gambled on me and it was the best decision I’ve made
[q: You’ve broken through in Lisbon. You’ve won eight trophies and have renewed your contract until 2023] Benfica wanted me to renew and I’m very happy. I don’t know what can happen, but I’m just fine [here]. It’s my fourth season, I’ve won lots of trophies and I’m part of a club whose demand is the highest
[q: Have you had options to return to Spain?] Things have always been spoken about. I had a very high release clause and Benfica didn’t want me to leave. I was happy
[q: Last season, you scored seven goals and made 13 assists. Was it your best season?] In terms of numbers, yes; it was very complete, but I feel better every year. I’d spent time with Rui Vitoria and he knew me well, but the arrival of Bruno Lage meant the team changed and we exploited certain attacking qualities.
[q: You’re also a specialist in assists. Only Trent Alexander-Arnold has more than you this season] Full-backs are almost like the first attackers. We get to the byline a lot and cross it. I’ve worked a lot on my final product and it’s brought results.
[q: Freekicks are also one of your strong points. Did you learn from Lionel Messi at Barcelona?] Everyone takes notice of Leo. When someone scores one freekick in five, you have to learn from him, see how he does it and try to hit the target
[q: After various years performing at the highest level, do you think you should have been called up by Spain by now?] I’ve always said it’s one of my objectives. I want to get a call-up; I work for it and there’s still time before the Euros.
[q: In your position there is Jordi Alba, Jose Gaya, Juan Bernat, Sergio Reguilon, yourself… there’s a lot of competition] It’s the Spanish national team and there are great players in every position! We all want to go and we work hard for it. It’s tough, there’s competition, but it’s one of my goals. I’m going to work my best to have the opportunity and, if not, I’ll work even more.
[q: You won the Under-19 Euros in 2012 with Kepa Arrizabalaga, Gerard Deulofeu, Jese Rodriguez, Suso… under Julen Lopetegui. Did you think he would’ve helped you get a senior call-up?] He could’ve given me a call-up, Luis Enrique [could’ve done]… I have to give my best so that they notice me and call me up. It’s something that I’ll always remember. I was very young, I had the chance to go with Lopetegui and we won. It was very important and now the majority of us are at great clubs
[q: Who is the most difficult player you’ve played against?] I’ve played against some very good players but, when I was at Barcelona and I went up to train with the first team - Neymar was incredible when he fronted you up. And Messi always leaves his mark
2020 05 14 Retrieve
[Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix sets sights on Champions League and Ballon d’Or] What is my sporting dream? To win the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or.
[Kaka achieved that double feat in 2007 after taking Milan to European glory] You managed in a single year what others strive for over their entire career. I had your poster in my room and I never expected to be here talking to you. There will only ever be one Kaka and one Joao
2020 05 18 Retrieve
[Joao Felix says Atletico ready for La Liga to return] We’re feeling very good and are very excited about playing again. If it were up to us, we would return this weekend but we’ll have to wait and work hard so we can get off to a good start. We worked hard at home to make sure we didn’t lose our fitness and it’s been easy to get back to doing cardio work. Now we’re starting to work with the ball again and will do that every day so we can return to normality. It’s the first day we have been able to come together and we have been playing lots of small-sided games which is what we love doing and what we were missing the most. I missed playing against my team-mates and scoring goals
2020 05 19 Retrieve
[Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix: My 16-year-old brother Hugo does things I couldn’t at his age] If he listens to those who want to help him, he is going to be successful. He does things I couldn’t do at his age. He has everything to do well and reach the first team. For his age he works a lot. We both like to score. He takes better free-kicks than me, I am better at penalties, but we both play more or less in the same positions. In football you have to play simple, but we like to do something different, something that excites the crowd, and we have some similarities. Since we were little we saw each other playing and tried to do the same things
You need a bit of luck to win the Champions League. But we hope to [win] it and if I won the Champions League, it would be something very good in my life and my career. [It would be] one of the happiest days [of my life] - the dream I’ve always had since I’ve been playing football
2020 05 23 Retrieve
[Joao Felix on his younger brother] If he [younger brother Hugo] listens to those who want to help him, he is going to be successful. He does things I couldn’t do at his age. He has everything to do well and reach the first team. For his age he works a lot