Joao Felix exploded onto the scene at Benfica in 2018 before a huge summer move to LaLiga with Atlético de Madrid. Here are five things you may not know about the Portuguese superstar…
His idol while growing up was Kaká
The similarities between the two are clear, both in playing style and appearance… brothers, anyone? But what isn’t so known is that Kaka was actually one of Joao Felix’s biggest idols growing up: the young Felix has spoken of watching YouTube video after YouTube video of the former World Player of the Year. The 20-year-old has also named Portuguese legend Rui Costa among his other inspirations while growing up.
Both his parents are teachers
Carlos and Carla, Joao’s parents, are both physical education teachers and he credits them with keeping him centred growing up. He has explained in interviews that his father would give him pep talks before matches and helped him stay focused during his teenage years; at the age of just 13 years he moved away from home to FC Porto’s academy, before later making the move to the capital with Benfica.
His first hat-trick in the Europa League was record breaking
In April 2019, Joao hit the headlines across Europe with a stunning performance for Benfica in a Europa League match against Eintracht Frankfurt. By scoring three times in a 4-2 victory, he became the youngest ever player to score a hat-trick in the Europa League, doing so at the age of just 19 years and 152 days. That broke the previous record set by Marko Pjaca in 2014.
Diego Costa has taken him under his wing
From the start of pre-season, Joao and Diego Costa have forged a strong relationship. Costa is known to be a leader in the Atlético de Madrid dressing room and he quickly took the new arrival from Benfica under his wing, spending a lot of time with him and partnering with him in various drills. Both players are native Portuguese speakers, and this has helped the youngster settle in. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that it was Costa who assisted Joao’s first official goal for Atleti, against Eibar back in September.
His brother Hugo is also a highly rated prospect
Hugo Felix, João’s 16-year-old brother, is also highly rated and is doing well at Benfica’s academy. João was even able to celebrate goals with his brother last season, as Hugo was a ball boy at the Estádio da Luz on some matchdays. One particular goal that he scored against Vitória Setúbal ended with an emotional embrace between the siblings.