Joao Felix has explained that he elected to move to Atletico Madrid from Benfica last summer because it was the club he felt he could best elevate his game to the next level.
The 20-year-old Portuguese gained notoriety last season as he enjoyed a blistering conclusion to the campaign, which saw him score 11 and set up eight more in his side’s last 16 top-flight matches.
On top of that, he netted a Europa League hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt, which was enough to persuade Atleti into paying €126 million (£113m/€135m) in order to make him the heir to Antoine Griezmann, who signed for Barcelona, as well as the game’s fourth-most expensive ever player.
The Spanish side saw off numerous big clubs in order to capture that playmaker, who revealed that his decision to move to Madrid was fuelled by the desire to improve his game.
“It is a dream for any player to be able to play in one of the best teams in the world. Atlético is one of them," he told Benfica TV. “I had several clubs chasing me but I ended up choosing Atletico because it was the one I liked the most and I think it will give me the best conditions to progress in my career. We work very well together and that is positive.”
Life in Spain has been complicated from the outset, with Felix’s figures disappointing compared to what he previously enjoyed in Portugal, notching six goals and three assists in 24 outings.
However, the youngster, who has been troubled by muscular injuries this season, is aiming to keep his head down and is refusing to be drawn into comparisons with some of the great players his country has produced, including Cristiano Ronaldo, from who it is hoped that he will one day take up the baton of being the national team’s outstanding talent.
“I just play to have fun,” he said. “You don’t have to think you’re going to be the next Ronaldo or that you’re going to win this or that. You just have to have fun and enjoy the moment to the fullest.”