Former Benfica coach Bruno Lage has confessed that Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix has everything he needs to become a world superstar and a future Ballon d’Or winner. The 20-year-old had a trying debut season at Atletico Madrid last term as he netted just nine goals in 36 appearances.
A lot was expected off Joao Felix when he arrived for a €126 million especially with Antoine Griezmann leaving Atletico Madrid for Barcelona for the same fee. However, the Portuguese international didn’t have the greatest year of his fledgeling career as he adapted to a new league under the tenure of Diego Simeone. Even then, there were glimpses of the magic that the 20-year-old could produce as he scored nine goals across all competitions.
However, things have already changed this season with Felix playing a key role in Atletico Madrid’s unbeaten La Liga start and that includes a brilliant performance against RB Salzburg. But Bruno Lage believes that the forward can become even better as he admitted that Felix has everything he needs to “be a candidate for the Ballon d'Or”. The former Benfica coach, under whom Felix thrived, further added that comparing the 20-year-old to Cristiano Ronaldo is not fair especially given what Ronaldo has achieved.
"If at 18 he was named the best Under-21 player (Golden Ball award), in a short space of time he can be a candidate for the Ballon d'Or. We should not be saying whether he is going to be Cristiano [Ronaldo]'s heir or not. What Cristiano did is extraordinary, and Joao Felix has a long way to go. The most important thing is that he doesn't have the ambition of being leader of anything but that he continues to develop and show in all his game his potential,” Lage said, reported ESPN.
"If he does that, to be recognised worldwide will come naturally. With his talent, his worth ethic and humility, he has everything to be a great world reference player. He already has the pressure of playing in that team [Atletico], the €126m, of winning ... we can't add further pressure of becoming Cristiano's successor."