Tuesday, May 28News That Matters

Diego Simeone responds to Chelsea & Pochettino rejecting Joao Felix

Diego Simeone believes Joao Felix has a future at Atletico Madrid after Chelsea turned down the opportunity to sign the attacker on a permanent deal.

Felix, who joined Atletico Madrid for £113m from Benfica in 2019, has struggled during his time in La Liga.

After reports of a rift between Felix and Simeone, the Portuguese star was allowed to sign for Chelsea on loan in January for the rest of the campaign.

But, the attacker has not done enough to convince Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino that his move should be made permanent.

However, Atletico are still looking to sell Felix before next campaign but Simeone is adamant that he would welcome him back into his squad.

‘Joao is an Atletico Madrid player who, if he does not have a place at Chelsea, as Pochettino apparently said, he will have to come to Atletico de Madrid, he will have to work with us again, and obviously we will be willing to give him the best for that he can improve in what we believe is important,’ Simeone said in his interview with El Partidazo de COPE.

‘He has enormous conditions, he heads well, he hits well with both feet… he will be what he wants to be. It is a reality that is shown in the game.

When quizzed about reports that he and Felix did not get along, Simeone said: ‘I don’t have any problem with anyone.

‘I have a very open head to give myself up. We have to see if Joao’s departure is good financially for the club, and that’s not where my figure enters.

‘Last season it was more irregular, like the whole team. It would be unfair to say that the team was not playing well because of Joao, that would be a lie.

‘The team is playing well now because they all play in the same way, and if Joao were there, if he I would have adapted, he would be playing well too.’

When asked if Felix is aware of what is needed to succeed at Atletico, Simeone said: ‘It is one more question for him, possibly he is the one who has to respond to these things. We have been with this way of working for 11 years.

‘He had to go to Chelsea to be with Lampard, he has made the comment on the culture of work. It’s in him.

‘If he wants to, he will be a great footballer. There are guys who mature from football.’

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