Joao Felix has spoken for the first time since completing his €126m transfer to Atletico Madrid on his decision to join the club and his aims for next season.
Following a breakthrough campaign at Benfica, Felix became a top target for clubs across all over Europe. Among them were Juventus, Real Madrid, Manchester City and Manchester United.
The 19-year-old attacker, therefore, had a difficult decision to make for his future. The one thing that seemed certain was that an exit from Benfica was a must if he was to fulfil his potential as a possible future Ballon d’Or winner.
To the surprise of many, however, it was Atletico who took the initiative and matched Felix’s buyout clause of €126m at Benfica.
Last season’s La Liga runners-up then announced their stunning capture of the teenager, dubbed as “Portugal’s new Cristiano Ronaldo”, on a seven-year deal on Wednesday.
Now, Felix has spoken for the first time on his decision to turn down “several clubs” for a summer move to the Wanda Metropolitano.
“I’m very happy. Everybody wants to play in the world’s best teams, and Atletico are one of them, he told Atletico’s YouTube.
“Several clubs were interested, but I chose Atletico.
“They are the one that I liked the most and the one which had the best conditions for me to go. Atletico are one of the best teams in the world.
“Every player wants to play for the world’s top clubs. The opportunity came up and I’m here to give my all. They are a team that I’ve followed a lot in the Spanish league.
“I even saw them win the league and Europa League. I also watched the two [Champions League] finals [ in 2014 and 2016] they didn’t win. I’ve always followed the Spanish league, including Atletico.”
The Portugal international’s father revealed that he had already held conversations with Atletico boss Diego Simeone prior to joining them.
And it appears the Argentine’s words had a big role in swaying Felix, who’s looking forward to working under him.
“Simeone is a coach who transfers aggressiveness and motivation into the team, which he also did as a player,” said Felix.
“That helps us a lot, he proves his talent and helps us on the pitch.
Felix bagged 15 goals and nine assists to inspire Benfica to a 37th Primeira Liga title last season. Although it was in the Europa League where he truly made his mark after scoring a hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt.
However, the talented youngster refuses to get carried away by setting himself any scoring targets for next season.
“I hope to do as well as possible, think positively, work hard in order to complete a great season and be a star for Atletico Madrid,” Felix said on his aims.
“Age influences some things, but I’m mature enough to face this situation.
“I know what it means to be at an important club and everybody says that even though I’m 19, I don’t look like it.
“I identify myself with that and I think it won’t be a problem. I know that the fans are always there to support the team and the players. That feels good.
“I won’t promise any numbers, that should never be promised. But I do promise that I will give my all for the team.”