Joao Felix

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La Liga roundup: Griezmann shines in Barcelona’s 5-2 drubbing of Betis

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Wins from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid highlight La Liga’s Sunday action.

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Barcelona 5-2 Real Betis

Antoine Griezmann’s Camp Nou debut was one for the books.

With Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez sidelined with injuries, the floor was all Griezmann’s. He didn’t disappoint.

Down 1-0, Griezmann, sneaking past his markers inside the box, acrobatically tapped a lofting ball from Sergi Roberto into the back of the net.

The best was yet to come, however.

In the second half, as Barcelona pinned Real Betis back in their defensive third, the Frenchman’s magic came to life.

Soon after, the floodgates opened – Barcelona’s skill effortlessly began to pick apart a weaker Betis side. Just 30 minutes after the 28-year-old’s second goal, Ernesto Valverde’s side posed a 5-1 lead.

Loren Moron’s superb strike gave Betis a second, but the defending champions had already done the damage behind goals from Carles Perez, Jordi Alba, Arturo Vidal and Griezmann.

With Sunday’s performance in mind, how will Barcelona function with Messi, Suarez and Griezmann spearheading the attack?

Osasuna may soon find that out firsthand as they host the Catalonians next. Elsewhere, looking for their first points of the season, Betis host Leganes.

Leganes 0-1 Atletico Madrid 

With a goal in the 70th minute, Vitolo played the unlikely hero for Atletico Madrid in their 1-0 win over Leganes.

Following a smooth lay-off from Joao Felix, the 29-year-old calmly slotted the ball past Juan Soriano, ten minutes after replacing Mario Hermoso.

The goal certainly meant a lot to Vitolo and Atletico Madrid, who along with Sevilla, are one of two teams to start the season with six points after two matchweeks.

Although not entirely dominant throughout the course of the match, the home side was inches from stripping two points from Los Colchoneros with Jonathan Silva’s free-kick hitting the crossbar.

Despite having a pair of clear-cut opportunities on Sunday, Atletico’s $142 million summer signing is yet to celebrate his first La Liga goal. Alvaro Morata, too, is waiting to catch fire.

With Atletico hosting an underperforming Eibar next, the narrative that Simeone’s side is lacking efficiency in the attack can soon fall flat. On the other hand, no points to their name, will look to exploit a confidence-battered Real Betis.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Alaves 0-0 Espanyol

RCD Mallorca 0-1 Real Sociedad

Atleti phenom Felix upstages MLS All Stars

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It’s not about the result nor even the action, but Major League Soccer’s All-Stars lost their third-straight outing on Wednesday, a 3-0 defeat to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

Really, though, it’s about Joao Felix, the 19-year-old $140 million star who posted a goal and an assist in just over a half hour of play.

[ MORE: Lampard praises Pulisic ]

The All Stars had most of the ball and few of the chances, with Marcos Llorente and Diego Costa joining the score sheet during a wet match in Orlando.

Llorente took a back heel from impressive 19-year-old Rodrigo Riquelme and finished his chance to make it 1-0, but Felix’s second half was the story.

Felix tore into a bouncing ball to swerve a shot off Nick Rimando and into the goal, then sent a delightful ball through to Costa for a suave finish deep in stoppage time.

History of MLS All Star Game
1996: East 3-2 West
1997: East 5-4 West
1998: USA 6-1 World
1999: East 4-6 West
2000: East 9-4 West
2001: East 6-6 West
2002: MLS 3-2 USMNT
2003: MLS 3-1 Chivas Guadalajara
2004: East 3-2 West
2005: MLS 4-1 Fulham
2006: MLS 1-0 Chelsea
2007: MLS 2-0 Celtic
2008: MLS 3-2 West Ham United
2009: MLS 1-1 Everton (Everton wins in PKs)
2010: MLS 2-5 Manchester United
2011: MLS 0-4 Manchester United
2012: MLS 3-2 Chelsea
2013: MLS 1-3 AS Roma
2014: MLS 2-1 Bayern Munich
2015: MLS 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
2016: MLS 1-2 Arsenal
2017: MLS 1-1 (2-4 PKs) Real Madrid
2018: MLS 1-1 (3-5 PKs) Juventus
2019: MLS 0-1 Atletico Madrid

MLS All-Star Game preview: Joao Felix visits Florida

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Some of the biggest generational names of soccer will be in the lineup when the MLS All Stars face Atletico Madrid in Orlando on Tueday, but many eyes will be trained on a teenager.

$134 million teenager Joao Felix will be in the fold for Atleti on Wednesday in Florida, on the heels of a 1-goal, 2-assist performance against Real Madrid and ahead of a La Liga debut in August.

[ MORE: Lukaku, Dybala swap? ]

So while it’ll be pretty cool to see Diego Costa test the MLS All-Stars, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Co. go up against Diego Simeone’s stingy defense, there will be a special focus on a youngster getting as much international focus as any teen star not named Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in the past decade.

Once-capped by Portugal, Felix burst into stardom last season with Benfica. Felix scored 20 times in all competitions, including 15 in league play, and earned the big purchase from Atleti.

Now, he’ll show us what a 19-year-old megawatt potential can do against USMNT center back Walker Zimmerman, World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Atlanta United star defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.

And if Felix is supposed to be worried about going up against physical defenders, let alone La Liga’s stars, he’s not letting on (via AS):

“Nothing can stop me playing my football. I might not have a lot physically, but I have other things that the rest don’t have. And that will help me a lot.”

The match kicks off after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Atletico Madrid roster for MLS All-Star Game includes Felix

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Major League Soccer fans will get a good luck at one of the hottest prospects in world soccer when the MLS All Stars take on Atletico Madrid in next week’s MLS All Star Game.

Joao Felix, the $142 million 19-year-old, is among the roster announced by Diego Simeone for the match.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

Felix scored 20 times with 11 assists in 40 matches for Benfica before moving to Atleti in the summer. Those numbers include a hat trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals first leg.

The other stars will be there, too, provided no transfers happen in the interim. Koke, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, and Saul Niguez are in the squad.

New Atleti defender Kieran Trippier and longtime El Tri hero Hector Herrera will also be sure to help drive attendance in Orlando City.

The full roster is here.

Atletico Madrid confirms enormous Joao Felix signing

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What was already a busy Wednesday at the Wanda Metripolitano just went over-the-top insane.

After seeing Hector Herrera sign on and Rodrigo depart, Atletico Madrid officially confirmed the signing of 19-year-old Benfica star Joao Felix.

The club did not confirm the transfer fee, but according to multiple reports around Europe, including the BBC and Sky Sports, Felix cost Atletico Madrid a whopping $142 million, making him the fifth-most expensive transfer in world football history and the most of any Madrid club. He is the second-most expensive teenager behind Kylian Mbappe.

 

Felix is new to the first-team scene, having only made his senior debut in August, but already holding a big reputation as a young talent, he burst onto the big stage with 15 league goals in 26 Liga NOS appearances. He also scored three Europa League goals as Porto reached the quarterfinals of the competition.

The Portuguese teen made his international debut in the semi-finals of the Nations League in early June, and his style of play has earned comparisons to compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo with his ability to cut in from the wing and owning an innate ability to score from long range.

Much of the financial backing for the Felix move will come from the heavily reported sale of Antoine Griezmann to Barcelona, with the striker costing a reported $136 million per his release clause. On Tuesday, ESPN reported that hang-ups in the Griezmann transfer were affecting Felix’s switch, but with the youngster now confirmed it could be a sign that Griezmann is close to his move as well.