Benfica President: Joao Felix One of Portugal's Best Since Cristiano Ronaldo

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 23, 2019

Portugal's forward Cristiano Ronaldo (R) and Portugal's forward Joao Felix attend a training session at 'City of Football' training camp in Oeiras, on March 20, 2019 ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifying football match Portugal vs Ukraine. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images)

Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira has called Joao Felix one of the best talents to emerge from Portugal since Cristiano Ronaldo.

The club's chief recently spoke to Tuttosport (h/t Calciomercato.com) and confirmed plans to increase the youngster's €120 million (£102.8 million) release clause while making the comparison to Ronaldo:

"I am happy that all of Europe is talking about Benfica's talents. Now it is clear that our project of betting on young players is bearing the desired results. Joao Felix the next Ronaldo? There is only one sure thing: Felix is one of the best talents produced by Portuguese football since Ronaldo.

"Juventus and Real Madrid's interest in him? Ask them. At this moment we are not interested in selling him and soon we will increase the release clause in his contract (currently €120 million). Joao has an incredible technique, he is fast and also very intelligent. He is a good person, he shows that he has important values that make me very proud."

Felix recently impressed in Benfica's 4-2 Lisbon derby win over Sporting CP, in which he scored his side's second goal before winning the penalty for their fourth:

The teenager has scored 10 times in his first 18 Primeira Liga outings (13 starts) and is averaging a goal every 109.1 minutes in Portugal's top flight.

His adaptation to senior football has been a fast one after making the step up from Benfica's B team in the summer, with the prospect now looking like possibly the Eagles' most prized possession.

Benfica sporting director and club legend Rui Costa also spoke to Tuttosport (h/t Chris Burton of Goal) about the club's latest emerging talent, whom he said boasted rare ability and "a remarkable sense of goal."

Costa also addressed the comparisons that have been made between himself and Felix, per journalist Juan Arango:

Juan G. Arango 🇨🇴 🇮🇹 @JuanG_Arango

Rui Costa: “Some are saying that (João Félix) is my heir or that he's the new @kaka. Honestly, Félix is Félix.” [@tuttosport] https://t.co/W3B9GZW8kB

The Sun reported on Thursday that reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are ready to launch a move for his signature.

Felix earned his first call-up to Portugal's senior squad alongside Ronaldo for the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers with Ukraine and Serbia, and he was an unused substitute on Friday as Fernando Santos' side drew 0-0 against the former.

There aren't many finer role models Felix could have in training, and the forward recently spoke of just how highly regarded Ronaldo is within the camp:


🗣️ "He's [@Cristiano] a phenomenal worker, an exemplary footballer for us all." - João Félix 💪 #EURO2020 https://t.co/xtvTRlW3gi

Felix has failed to have a direct goal involvement in only one of his last eight league appearances and already looks to be outpacing the Primeira Liga competition.

It will take a significantly larger fee to free him from Benfica than the £13 million required to take Ronaldo from Sporting, and the Eagles are well aware of just how rare a talent they've got on their hands.