Felix, who turned 19 in November final yr, loved a stellar debut season, scoring 15 objectives for Benfica in addition to turning into the primary teenager ever to web a Europa League hat-trick.
A race for his signature then ensued with Atletico securing one of many world’s most gifted younger gamers. However with such an enormous switch charge comes strain, expectation, and comparisons.
And although few doubt the dimensions of Felix’s expertise, the participant’s former coach, Bruno Lage, says comparisons with Ronaldo, Portugual’s report goalscorer and five-time Balon d’Or winner, are “unfair”.
“It is unfair the comparisons which can be made between João, who’s beginning his profession with among the finest gamers of all time like Cristiano Ronaldo,” Benfica coach Lage informed CNN.
“I would prefer to see João be true to himself and hold the attributes which distinguish him from the others. He does not have to check himself to Ronaldo.”
Lage tutored João at Benfica’s famed academy the place Manchester Metropolis’s Bernado Silva and 2016’s Golden Boy award winner Renato Sanches first lower their tooth. It’s a state-of-the-art facility constructed 15 years in the past that continues to churn out world class expertise to the remainder of the world.
However for golf equipment like Benfica, such an environment friendly manufacturing line has its drawbacks. Unable to compete financially with the tremendous rich golf equipment in England, Spain, Italy and France, the Portuguese champion should accept being a ‘promoting’ membership.
“Crucial factor a membership has to grasp in trendy occasions is the type of work it has to do to be able to have sporting and monetary success,” Lage stated.
“The key for Benfica was to not copy anybody and to plan a method to have sporting success no matter what gamers we promote for the great of our monetary stability. Any younger expertise that stands out in a membership is straight away transferred, as a result of the presents are irrefutable.”
Because of this, in accordance with Lage, “we see that within the final 10 years those that attain the quarterfinals, the semifinals [of the Champions League] are the identical golf equipment. As a result of they’ve extra money and might get the very best gamers.”
It’s the group of gamers at Lage’s disposal that he hopes will carry the membership to the knockout stage of the Champions League for the primary time since 2016.
Benfica has didn’t translate home supremacy – – the membership has gained 5 of the final six league titles – – into continental respectability. It is a discrepancy that Lage is decided to set straight.
“European success is the following step,” Lage stated. “Now we have the ambition to take the final step, to essentially make a marketing campaign within the Champions League in accordance with the membership’s greatness.”
Duarte Mendonca in London contributed to this report.