João Félix’s time as an Atlético de Madrid player has come to an end this season. The Portuguese international has packed his bags for London to play the rest of the season at Graham Potter’s Chelsea FC.
The ‘Golden Boy’ never fit in with the game idea of his former coach Diego Pablo Simeone. Despite having starred in good moments of play during the three and a half seasons he spent at the Madrid club, the player has decided to embark on a new adventure in search of a context that will benefit him, with respect to the player profile he has and the way he plays.
Having contextualized the analysis, at the MBP School of Coaches, we will highlight what Atlético de Madrid has lost from the departure of João Félix to the Premier League, based on what he has shown as a ‘rojiblanco’.
João Félix was never characterized by having a fixed position in Cholo’s teams, as he played as a centre forward when he used a structure of two strikers, or as a left winger when Simeone opted for a forward line of three.
However, due to his socio-affective structure, his own nature encouraged him to roam around the pitch, aiming to connect with his teammates and generate positive synergies that would allow them to solve situations collectively with greater effectiveness.
Thanks to this, the Portuguese player was able to give attacking fluidity to Atleti, always offering a progressive passing line, whether in the organisational phase of the game, or in the defence-attack transition.
In addition, the player’s tactical intelligence allowed him to position himself in the intervals, whether they were intralineal or interlinear, thus being able to receive with enough time and space to perform the subsequent action successfully.
Likewise, when he played as a winger, the player’s tendency was to drop deep, in order to help in the progression of his team’s play.
In addition, the Portuguese star also became a key creator of assists for his teammates when he started from the wing. Once the ball was in the finishing zone, he regularly executed the universal fundamental of ‘playing advantageous passes’ to the players further forward. As a result, the striker was able to put them in great positions in front of goal.
Finally, in addition to his role as a playmaker and assist creator, the former Benfica forward also scored goals. Without being a goal scorer, João netted a total of 34 goals in 131 games.
Furthermore, during his time at the Colchoneros, the player evolved in the way he scored goals. During his first two seasons, the goals he scored came from individual actions.
From the third season with Atlei, however, the player was more collective in his behaviour in the final third of the pitch. Unlike the initial years, the player was in charge of finishing the play made by his teammates. Therefore, João Felix’s evolution as a finisher was able to strengthen the role of the rest of the teammates around him.
All players need an appropriate context around them in order to shine at their best. In this case, neither João Félix nor Diego Pablo Simeone have been able to find his own special role in the red and white of Atleti, with the style of play that his former coach wanted to implement. We will see if the Portuguese forward manages to find his place in the English capital and bring out his full potential.