Every season there seems to be an exceptional young talent that sets the footballing world alight. Last year it was Matthijs de Ligt, the year before that it was Kylian Mbappe, and this year it could be Benfica star Joao Felix’s turn to steal the limelight.
The 19-year-old Portugal international, who has gone from playing in in the second division to lining up alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, has had a meteoric rise to the top, starring for Benfica both in the Europa League and domestically as the historic club lifted the Liga NOS title.
After such an eye-catching season, it’s no surprise that interest in the exciting wonderkid is rife.
Correio da Manha via the Manchester Evening News have previously reported that Liverpool are interested in the teenage superstar, though they claim Benfica rejected a £60 million offer.
But interest was not stifled at that moment, as Mohamed Bouhafsi, Chief editor at RMC Sport, has since claimed that Liverpool are one of four clubs interested in landing Felix this summer, with Juventus, Manchester City and Manchester United also in the running.
Felix has been a sensation this season, but what have the experts said about the Portuguese international in his fleeting career thus far?
Being young, exciting and Portuguese is bound to draw comparisons to some of the country’s greatest ever stars, but former Swansea City boss Carlos Carvalhal took it one step further and claimed that Felix, at his age, was better than current Manchester City star Bernardo Silva.
The former Swans manager said in an interview with BBC Sport: “Bernardo Silva is one of the best players in the world at this moment, but at 19, he did not show the talent that Felix is showing at this moment at 19, so imagine what kind of player we are talking about.
“Why is he so special? He’s a mix between a nine and a 10, he plays like a second striker. He is a good header, even if he is not a massive player physically.”
With a potential world superstar currently plying his trade in Portugal, it’s understandable that locals are extremely excited about the future of Felix, and none so more than Jose Delgado, deputy director at Portuguese sports newspaper A Bola.
Talk of a big money move to the likes of Liverpool has been a domineering story on the Portuguese back pages in recent months, and it’s not expected to go away any time soon, with Delgado claiming that we have not seen a player like Felix since Ronaldo broke through as a teenager.
Delgado told BBC Sport: “Benfica want to keep the player for another year, but that might not be possible. Since Ronaldo, we have not had a player so exciting and young like him until now.”
If you’re winning praise from a national icon and the sporting director of your club, you know you’re doing something right, and that’s exactly what Felix has managed to accomplish from Rui Costa.
The former Portugal international has lavished the teenager with praise this season but was quick to drop the comparison with Felix to himself and former AC Milan teammate Kaka.
Speaking to Tutto Sport (via Bleacher Report), Costa said: “Someone called him my heir or the new Kaka. The truth is that Felix is only Felix.
“He has an extraordinary sense of play and he has a rare ability, he can guess what will happen in front of the goal. He is a modern No. 10, a second striker with a remarkable sense of goal, he scored 10 goals in the league.”