Featured Interviews

Joao Félix Addresses Criticism and Hostile Reception at Atletico-Barça Match

Joao Felix / Getty Images
Joao Felix / Getty Images

Joao Felix addressed criticism and defended his relationship with former teammates amidst controversy.

Joao Félix was the most sought-after player on Sunday night after the Atlético-Barça (0-3) match. On loan from Atletico to Barcelona, he opened the victory with a precise shot and proved decisive once again after sealing the first-leg match in Montjuïc (1-0). There was anticipation for his statements in a hostile Metropolitano towards him, but he did not speak to the media broadcasting the match initially. However, he did so with ESPN Brazil, where he defended himself against the criticism he receives at his current club. “The fans in the stands don’t know the things that happened here during my time. As you can see, what they say from the outside that I have a bad relationship with my former teammates is not true. As you can see, I stopped to talk to Samuel and Lemar, and everyone came to hug me, talk to me, ask how the family is, ask me how I was, and more. I have nothing against them, nor do they against me; people from outside clearly do not know what happened here inside,” he explained.

Regarding the jeers he received, he pointed out, “I tried to enjoy the match to the fullest, I always like matches against big teams, the spicy matches where the fans provoke you a bit more. I tried to help the team, get the three points, which is the most important thing.”

And he assessed the victory: “We played an almost perfect match, three goals away from home, in this stadium and against this team, which defends well, we know them, it was a perfect match. We did everything well, in defense, in the midfield, and upfront.”

In the club’s media, he added, “Atlético had not lost at home throughout the season, and leaving here with the three points will mean a lot to us. And especially after an incredible match against Napoli. We are going to fight for everything, there are nine matchdays left, and we are already second, and little by little, we are going to get closer to Madrid.” Regarding his starting position, he noted, “the competition is very high, there are many good players, and the coach has to decide. In the other match, Lamine and Rafa started and played a great game. Today it was my turn, and then Lamine and Vitor Roque also helped when they came in. We all have to contribute.”

Joao Félix was again one of the hot points of the match that Atlético Madrid played against FC Barcelona. The Portuguese attacker scored again, as he did in the first-leg clash. And, as expected, he received a very hostile reception from the Colchonero fans. The Portuguese, whistled by the red and white crowd throughout the match, set Barcelona’s victory (0-3) in motion by scoring the first goal, which he celebrated with moderation. He started to celebrate with a few jumps but stopped, although later he made gestures to the Barcelona fans in the away section.

As predicted, the plaque of the Portuguese on the Paseo de los Jugadores Centenarios appeared full of garbage, and they even burned an Atlético shirt with his name on it.

After the match, the player left a message to the Colchonero fans, saying that perhaps they do not know the whole story to have a global vision of what happened and why he wanted to leave Atlético. Additionally, he denied having a bad relationship with teammates as some have suggested.

“As I said before, the fans in the stands don’t know the things that happened here during my time here. What they say from the outside is that I have a bad relationship with my former teammates, and that’s not true, as you could see, I was just talking to Samuel. [Lino] and Lemar, and everyone who passed by hugged me, came to talk to me, and asked how I was, my family, and everything else, so you see that I have nothing against them and they have nothing against me,” he commented in words to ESPN. “The fans don’t know what happened here inside; I fully understand their reactions, but I shouldn’t be seen as the bad guy in this situation,” he emphasized, noting his good relationship with the Brazilian players, with whom he shares the language. “Yes, I like Brazilians, I get along with them, I like their way of being and their way of facing life,” he said.