Joao Felix has only completed two of the eight matches played by Atlético this season. Only against Leganés and against Juventus has he played the 90 minutes, but nothing goes beyond the plan provided by Simeone. The Argentine is aware that Portuguese needs time - he is only 19 years old - and the 126 million that Atlético paid for him do not force him to squeeze it from the beginning. The Cholo follows with Joao the same plan that followed in the arrival of Griezmann. The French did not play a full match in the League until day 16, the last of the year before the Christmas break. In the Champions League he had to wait until February, in the first encounter of the crosses, to complete a match.
Something similar did Javier Aguirre before with the «Kun» Agüero, who put on the shirt of Atlético just turned 18. He linked two complete games on days 3 and 4, but had to wait until the twelfth to repeat. In between, in addition, five games on the bench. A territory that Joao Felix has not had to go through.
But the Portuguese is usually one of the changes of the coach rojiblanco in each match. A situation that does not like the fans of Atlético, which called for the change in the derby against Real Madrid. "It's not the first time. It has happened in Calderón and Wanda, too. People always want to see the best and Joao is one of the best, ”Simeone acknowledged. But the rojiblanco coach is in no hurry with the most expensive signing in the history of the club. «We have to take it little by little and accompany it throughout this process. There are people who can possibly give us an alternative in those final minutes, when I see that at that time he already gave us everything he had to give, ”admits the rojiblanco coach.
Joao is the physical representation of the changing of the guard that Atlético has experienced. Several important players left and the reconstruction begins with the Portuguese. «When we renewed with the club we understood the changes that were going to appear. Hopefully time will allow us to grow Lodi, Joao Felix, the youngest who have come. They are players that will grow over time and matches. Patience is respected only by winning, ”explains Simeone. The results, for now, serve the red and white coach to save time and give Joao Felix the treatment he needs.
«The reality of football is what is seen, not what is spoken. In the game, winning and losing is what sets the trend. We will be valued for the last game, ”acknowledges Simeone. But the rojiblanco coach does not forget that the Portuguese had only played 26 games with Benfica in the League of his country before signing for Atlético. In Champions his experience was reduced to a match of the group stage and a quarter of an hour between two meetings of the previous phase. His explosion came in the Europa League, where his team reached the quarter-finals. Atlético's "7" has been a starter in every game, but has only scored two goals. They are the same that Agüero had achieved at this point and one more than Griezmann, who that same season ended up becoming the official scorer of the rojiblanco team.
But the goal is not the requirement now for Joao Felix. Simeone recognizes the possibility of playing with Morata and Diego Costa in attack from the start against Lokomotiv. «The better fitness, especially in Costa and Morata, the more chance we have that they can share the gameor. We are going to see how they move, how I see them, and tomorrow we will decide if they start together, ”says Cholo. Joao Félix's influence in the field goes far beyond the area. His vision of the game allows him to be decisive from the band. Although at the moment he has only given one assist, which allowed Atlético to win in Leganés with a goal from Vitolo. But Simeone does not hurry him. He knows that more goals and more passes will come.
. (tagsToTranslate) Sunday Garcia