Atletico Madrid's Koke Calls for Patience with Joao Felix: 'You Can't Kill Him'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2019

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JULY 26:  Joao Felix of Atletico Madrid during the 2019 International Champions Cup match between Real Madrid and Atletico de Madrid at MetLife Stadium on July 26, 2019 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has urged supporters to be patient with new arrival Joao Felix if he struggles next season.

Los Rojiblancos splashed out €126 million (£115 million) on the teenager earlier this summer to sign him from Benfica. Only Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Philippe Coutinho have ever moved for larger transfer fees.

Per El Pais' Ladislao J. Monino on Saturday (h/t Goal's Matt Dorman), Koke said of Felix: "He has a lot of personality. It's not easy to be 19 and have the pressure of what has been paid for him. You have to give him some time. If he plays two bad games, you can't kill him."

"He enjoys playing football," the captain added. "He has a lot of quality, but what I like most is the mischief [he creates], the dribbling. He likes to have the ball; he is not afraid to ask for it."

Felix exploded onto the scene in a sensational season with Benfica in which he racked up 20 goals and 11 assists in 43 appearances in all competitions.

He played 2,866 minutes in that time, meaning he made a direct goal contribution every 92 minutes he was on the pitch.

As OptaJose demonstrated, the forward was clinical in front of goal:

OptaJose @OptaJose

26 - João Félix’s shots on target in his debut in Primeira Liga (15 goals): ⚽ ⚽ ⛔ ⚽ ⚽ ⛔ ⚽ ⛔ ⚽ ⚽ ⛔ ⛔ ⛔ ⛔ ⛔ ⚽ ⚽ ⚽ ⚽ ⚽ ⚽ ⛔ ⛔ ⛔ ⚽ ⚽ Spectacular. https://t.co/NdpgOau5PK

He has enjoyed a promising start to his Atleti career in pre-season, too.

Felix scored and set up two of Diego Costa's four goals as Los Rojiblancos demolished their local rivals Real Madrid 7-3 in New York.

His burgeoning partnership with Costa continued as he laid on another assist in Atletico's 3-0 win over Major League Soccer's All-Star team on Wednesday, and Felix added a goal himself:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

This. Kid. 🔥🔥🔥 Joao Felix set up Diego Costa for Atletico's third goal with a PERFECT cross-field pass. #MLSAllStar https://t.co/6zyrI09Rtk

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Have another 👀 at Joao Felix’s stunner that sealed Atletico's #MLSAllStar victory. 🔥🔥 #FOXFieldPass https://t.co/6Nzw2UWgR6

After such an enormous investment, Atleti are relying on Felix to maintain this level of production when they resume competitive fixtures on August 18 against Getafe in La Liga.

He's still only 19 years old, though, and an enormous amount of pressure comes with his price tag.

The occasional dip in form is inevitable, particularly while he's still developing his game. When they arise, he'll need patience from supporters and those around him.