Joao Felix has fit right in at Barcelona after joining the club just before the end of the summer transfer window. Felix is now heading back to Portugal when Barcelona face FC Porto in their second game of the Champions League group stage on Wednesday – 4 Oct. Felix played for Porto as a youngster before eventually joining fierce rivals Benfica at age 15, where he broke out as a teenager & was signed by Atletico in 2019.
But after he repeatedly chafed under Diego Simeone’s defend-first, attack-second playing style, Felix eventually fell out with Atletico’s coach & spent the second half of last season on a disappointing loan stint at Chelsea. On returning to Atletico in the offseason, Felix did what he could to force a move to Barcelona by publicly stating that he wanted to play for Xavi Hernandez’s side.
Incidentally, the clash at Porto will be Xavi’s 100th game as Barcelona coach, during which he has won La Liga and the Spanish Super Cup. Felix accepted a pay cut to help fit within Barcelona’s wage limits. The move has so far paid off for both players & team. The 23-year-old Felix has scored 3 goals & meshed well with his teammates since he joined Barcelona. Two of those goals came against Antwerp in Barcelona’s 5-0 rout in their Champions League opener last month.
The game at Estadio de Dragao is billed to be the toughest game of the group phase for Barcelona. Both clubs have 3 points atop Group H. Antwerp & Shakhtar Donetsk have 0 before they meet in Belgium also on Wednesday. It has taken Joao Felix several years & a couple of false starts, but the creative forward, who left Portugal to aim for the stars, has got a new lease on life at Barca.
He is back to face Porto. Wednesday’s match is a golden opportunity for Felix to prove himself. The previous record between Porto & Barcelona is thus: Porto wins 3 & Barcelona wins 5. Thus, the odds favor Barcelona; how much contribution Felix makes to his team will be watched closely by his admirers today.