Portugal coach expresses confidence in Joao Felix’s impact at Barcelona

In anticipation of Portugal’s UEFA Euro 2024 qualifier clash against Luxembourg, manager Roberto Martinez voiced his strong support for Joao Felix’s potential impact at Barcelona this season.

Felix’s last-minute loan transfer to Barcelona from Atletico Madrid, where he had fallen out of favour under Diego Simeone, made headlines. Despite enticing offers from clubs across Europe, the 23-year-old was adamant about joining the Catalan giants.

Nevertheless, doubts have arisen about how Felix will fit into Xavi Hernandez’s tactical system at Barcelona, given his lacklustre performance in the past year.

Questions have also been raised about Martinez’s decision to include Felix in the Portugal squad, considering his limited playing time this season.

However, Martinez defended his selection, emphasizing the importance of Felix’s participation in national team training with an eye toward the future. Moreover, he expressed his confidence in the young forward’s potential role at Barcelona, stating in an interview with Mais Futebol:

“Joao Felix is thrilled with this opportunity. He possesses exceptional technical skills and aligns perfectly with Barcelona’s and Xavi’s football philosophy.

“Even without match fitness, he’s vital for our preparations, not just for the next game, but for the next four. I believe he will play a pivotal role alongside Xavi and Barcelona.”

Felix marked his Barcelona debut last weekend, making a substitute appearance against CA Osasuna at El Sadar. While his compatriot Joao Cancelo, another deadline-day signing, is expected to slot into the starting line-up immediately, Xavi Hernandez plans to exercise patience with Felix.

Xavi envisions the Portuguese international as a valuable asset on the left flank, where he can seamlessly transition into central areas and collaborate with striker Robert Lewandowski.