Friday, July 1, 2022

Simeone says Barcelona interest in Joao Felix was no surprise given Laporta´s intelligence

SoccerNews in La Liga 1 Apr 2022


Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone believes Barcelona president Joan Laporta merely demonstrated his intelligence and good taste by expressing interest in Joao Felix.

The Portuguese attacker has recorded six goal involvements in his last five games in LaLiga – four goals and two assists – which is as many as he managed in his previous 30 games in the competition, when he tallied just three goals and three assists.

Joao Felix is helping his side to a strong run of form as they chase Champions League qualification for another season, impressing not only Simeone.

Earlier this week, Barcelona chief Laporta confirmed an admiration for the 22-year-old, revealing he attempted to engineer a swap for the forward when Antoine Griezmann agreed to leave Camp Nou for Atleti early in the season.

Joao Felix’s six league goals this season put him third in Atletico’s goalscoring charts behind Angel Correa (11) and Luis Suarez (nine) for the season.

“I live from day to day, from game to game,” Simeone told a news conference ahead of Atletico’s clash with Alaves.

“[But] it doesn’t seem surprising to me that a president as intelligent as Laporta speaks perfectly about Joao. It doesn’t surprise me at all.

“He is in a great moment. He feels good, strong, committed to what the team needs, and we always look for that, he is performing and that is why he is playing.”

The Atletico boss also confirmed the former Benfica prospect is “fine” and showing “no discomfort” after making two substitute appearances for Portugal during the international break.

Simeone’s team are chasing Champions League qualification after winning five consecutive league games, having won just one of their previous 10. They could win six successive games in LaLiga for the first time in over a year – they won eight in a row on a run which ended in January 2021 – when they host Alaves.

Last year’s Spanish champions have been able to call upon a wide array of attacking talents this season, with Joao Felix and Griezmann battling Correa, Suarez and Matheus Cunha for the starting spots.

Simeone stressed the need for “balance” in his forward line, and said each of his five attackers would be needed as the race for a top-four finish heats up.

“I always look for balance,” Simeone added. “This [the partnership between Joao Felix and Griezmann] is momentary, because today they are doing well and responding to what the team needs.

“We have Suarez, Cunha and Angel, and any of the five can do it in the best way according to their moment. Hopefully I can find the place for each one.”

Fourth-placed Atletico lead fifth-placed Real Betis by four points as they target Champions League qualification, with only three points separating them from Sevilla in second.


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