Friday, March 1, 2024

Herrera confident Joao Felix can ´exploit all his potential´ at Barca

SoccerNews in La Liga 1 Dec 2023

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Joao Felix could finally fulfil his potential in Barcelona’s possession-based style, says former Atletico Madrid team-mate Hector Herrera.

The Portugal international arrived at Atleti at the age of 19 ahead of the 2019-20 campaign for a club-record fee of €126million (£109m), but never quite lived up to his massive price tag, scoring just 34 goals in 131 games.

He had an unremarkable spell on loan at Chelsea last season, before Barcelona brought him in until the end of the campaign just before the most recent transfer deadline.

Joao Felix will look to come back and haunt his former side this weekend, with his loan agreement stating the forward is allowed to play as Barca host Atleti in LaLiga on Sunday.

While Atleti are happy to allow the opposition to have the majority of the ball, Xavi’s Barca are predominantly a possession-first side, with the Blaugrana having 66.72 per cent of the ball in LaLiga this season, significantly higher than the 50.67 per cent Atletico have averaged since the start of the 2019-20 season.

However, the change in tactics has seemingly done little to improve Joao Felix’s form, with the 24-year-old averaging 0.12 goals, 0.25 assists and 0.37 big chances created per 90 minutes for Barca, ranking fifth, fourth and fourth respectively among his five LaLiga seasons so far.

Despite those numbers, Herrera feels Joao Felix could still flourish under Xavi, telling Stats Perform: “Beyond having been colleagues, we have a great relationship.

“It seemed that at Atletico he couldn’t adapt, but now at Barcelona with a more associative game with the ball, I hope he has success and can stand out as he wants.

“He is a good player and he has a lot of future. He is able to exploit all his potential.”

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