Carlos Carvalhal has gone into detail to explain what all the hype over Benfica star Joao Felix’s immense potential is about.
Following a spectacular campaign for Benfica, Felix has emerged as one of the hottest young prospects in European football.
The 19-year-old forward scored 15 goals and added a further nine assists in 26 games as Benfica won a 37th Primeira Liga title and their fifth in six seasons. He also became the Europa League’s youngest hat-trick scorer since Sergio Aguero in 2007.
Despite not even being capped yet at international level, Felix was selected in Portugal’s 23-man squad for the UEFA Nations League finals next month.
Alongside the player he’s often been compared to in Cristiano Ronaldo, the teenage star will hope to do his bit in ensuring that Portugal win the tournament on home soil.
Interestedly, though, Carvahal reckons Felix’s qualities are more comparable to 2007 Ballon d’Or winner Kaka than five-time winner Ronaldo.
And not even Manchester City star Bernardo Silva, who has been rated as the Premier League’s best player this season, was on the same level as Felix at 19.
“His characteristics are more near Kaka in my opinion, the way he drives the ball, connects play and his goals,” Ex-Swansea City boss Carvahal told BBC.
“Bernardo Silva is one of the best players in the world at this moment. But at 19, he did not show the talent that Felix is showing in this moment at 19 – so imagine what kind of player we are talking about.”
He added: “Why is he so special? He’s a mix between a nine and a 10, he plays like a second striker. He is a good header, even if he is not a massive player physically.
“He knows how to find space well in the last line of defence, that is why he scores a lot and he shoots well with both feet. When he must connect the game between attack and midfield he does so very well. He’s a very good technical player.
“What makes him different is he is a No.9 when he goes to the last line of defence and he scores goals. But he is also a very good player to connect the game between the lines, to assist and pass.
“That is why we are talking about the big clubs being interested in him. It is not a surprise to me because since the beginning we have been looking at a talented player.”