Atletico CEO open to Joao Felix departure

Atletico Madrid chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin has admitted that Joao Felix could leave the club, naming the player’s relationship with coach Diego Simeone among the factors that could lead to a departure.

Joao Felix, now 23, joined Atletico from Benfica in a club record €126 million deal in July 2019 but the Portugal forward — currently in Qatar for the World Cup — has struggled to consistently justify that outlay.

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He has scored three goals in 12 LaLiga appearances — seven of which have come as a substitute — so far this season, and failed to score in the Champions League group stage as Atletico crashed out, finishing bottom.

“[Joao Felix] is the biggest bet this club has taken in its history,” Atletico CEO Gil Marin told TVE on Tuesday. “I personally think he’s a top talent, a world class player.

“For reasons it isn’t worth getting into — the relationship between him and the boss [Simeone], the minutes played, his motivation right now — it makes you think that the reasonable thing is that if there’s an option that’s good for the player, good for the club, we can look at it.

“I’d love him to stay personally, but I don’t think that’s the player’s idea.”

Joao Felix arrived at Atletico as a much-hyped teenager after scoring 15 goals for Benfica in his debut top flight season in 2018-19.

He has scored 24 league goals in three-and-a-half seasons at the Metropolitano, often looking an awkward fit for Simeone’s playing style and philosophy.

“All the bad things that Joao does, I do worse,” Simeone said in October when asked why he hadn’t been able to get the best out of the player. “All the frustration that he has means I’m not giving him what he needs to show his talent and the football he has.”

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