Atletico Madrid officially presented Joao Felix as the club’s new No.7 on Monday and the Portuguese international has made clear he is coming to make his own story in the Spanish capital.
Comparisons with Cristiano Ronaldo were going to be inevitable due to their shared nationality and the contribution the former Real Madrid icon made to the city, yet the former Benfica prodigy is uneasy with being judged against his compatriot.
“I’m here to write my own story,” Felix intimated during his introductory press conference when asked about Ronaldo.
“I want to be remembered as Joao Felix.
“He’s Cristiano Ronaldo and I’m Joao Felix.
“He’s a great player and currently the best in the world.
“He told me a lot about Madrid, a city he likes a lot.”
Antoine Griezmann’s absence from Atleti’s pre-season training session on Monday was not a huge surprise, even if he had been mandated to appear by the Spanish club.
Felix has taken the Frenchman’s number and will be tasked with replacing his impact on the pitch, but that isn’t something the 19-year-old is thinking about.
“I don’t concern myself with that sort of pressure,” he said.
“Sometimes we hear good things and sometimes we don’t.
“I’m just going to do my job, which is to help the team.”
Both Los Colchoneros and Benfica are qualified for the 2019/20 Champions League, and it’s quite plausible that the two teams will end up meeting in the tournament, a fixture that Felix would relish.
“I would love to go back home and go up against my former teammates, those who have given me this opportunity to be here,” he added.
“Benfica was very special to me, I will always be grateful to everyone for how they treated me.
“It’s not easy to leave Portugal, but everyone has wished me luck and I’ll always be a fan.
“I have received messages from all the players wishing me luck.
“We had a special relationship which ended in the best possible way.”