Montjuïc needs a hook for the fans. With the possibility of Lionel Messi’s return quickly disappearing, Joan Laporta was in search of a player with charisma, those who are a magnet for brands and a gift for the fans’ eyes. And he found it, or at least that’s what it seems for now. In his debut as a starter for Barcelona against Betis, in this strange season away from the Camp Nou, João Félix raised his hand, essentially his football. “I am working to be at the best level. The team environment is very good. It is easy to play among these players. “I’m happy, the change has been good for me and my family,” explained the former Atlético de Madrid forward, who arrived this summer on loan (without a purchase option) to Barça. “We have footballers who help people enjoy themselves. João does it, but so does Marc [Ter Stegen]Araujo when he returns, Gavi, Robert [Lewandowsi]… It is the team that generates excitement,” said Xavi Hernández.
However, two brushes of Portuguese, one to open the scoring, another to sign an assist without touching the ball, were the key to awakening the team and the fans in Barça’s victory against Manuel Pellegrini’s team. In his 64 minutes on the field, the Portuguese, in addition to the goal, touched 56 balls and had a passing percentage of 96%. He was as confident with the leather as he was intense in the duels: he won five and recovered three balls. “Everyone was very good. Everyone in the place they should be. When you have a good structure and the ball circulates quickly, spaces and goals appear,” commented João Félix.
“He is still a young player. We have the weight he has had and how much it has cost him. Everyone talks more about price than quality. It is a one-year loan and we hope to enjoy him and help the team,” said Deco, Barcelona’s director of football. There was calm in Barcelona’s sports management. They knew it was only a matter of time. They did not suffer with the departure of Dembélé (they had Raphinha on the right wing, although they were surprised by the emergence of Lamine Yamal) nor did they worry when Abde insisted and insisted that he wanted to leave for Betis. “On the last day of the market, things will happen,” they warned from the club’s sports management. “We knew that Jorge Mendes [representante del portugués] “It would help João Félix end up at Barcelona,” conclude the same sources.
Mendes’ help, in any case, was not limited to Felix. He also acted as a bridge for Cancelo to arrive, the Barça coach’s wish. “They are two footballers whose individual quality is beyond all doubt. You watch them train and you see their greatness. They increase the quality of the team. The crowd at Montjuïc has been extraordinary. I liked the atmosphere at the Camp Nou,” explained Xavi, happy with the group, also with the game. “I wouldn’t say it was a perfect match, but it was excellent in many sections, I am very satisfied,” concluded the Barcelona coach.
The Post Joan Laporta’s hook was João Félix | Sports
Originally Posted on elpais.com