Joao Felix shines in Atletico Madrid’s 3-0 rout of MLS All-Stars
Rooney sees a rising star in Portuguese teen; coach Simeone pleased with how new signings are fitting in
Portuguese teen sensation Joao Felix came off the bench to score a superb goal yesterday morning (Singapore time), as Atletico Madrid defeated the Major League Soccer (MLS) All-Stars 3-0 at the rain-soaked Exploria Stadium.
Inclement weather in the Orlando area delayed kick-off before a sell-out crowd for 40 minutes, but the rain failed to dampen an excellent atmosphere for the North American league's annual exhibition match.
The MLS All-Stars, captained by leading scorer Carlos Vela of Los Angeles FC, boasted the likes of DC United's Wayne Rooney, Los Angeles Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic and home favourite Luis Nani in their starting line-up.
Ibrahimovic was withdrawn after just 30 minutes, much to the disappointment of the 25,527 spectators and, despite Rooney's best efforts in the first half, it was the La Liga side who were far superior.
Marcos Llorente, signed from city rivals Real this summer for £35 million (S$58.2m), put the Spanish side ahead on 43 minutes before Felix, 19, scored a brilliant long-range effort in the 84th minute.
Diego Costa's third at the death was no more than the visitors deserved.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone said he was happy with how the pre-season has panned out, AFP reported.
"I've been pleased with all the new signings and the path we are going on during this pre-season," Simeone said.
"Felipe (Monteiro) is growing, (Mario) Hermoso the same. To play all the new players together helps us to be able to get ready for what is coming, which is going to be tough.
"The team are working well. We've been together every day for more than 20 days. The new guys are making a big effort to catch on to what we want."
NOT LIKE RONALDO
The Argentine also downplayed earlier comments made by forward Felix, who revealed that he would like to reproduce the success of five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, Goal.com reported.
"No, I don't think Felix is like Cristiano," Simeone said of his £113m summer signing from Benfica.
"The reality is that he has a good game to observe. I've enjoyed watching him since he arrived. He has vision and good control going forward, which speaks well for his age and how he plays and reads the game.
"We are going to add situations to help him grow and become a better and stronger player in the way everyone thinks he will."
Felix was pleased with his performance, after bagging his second goal for the club following a strike in the 7-3 International Champions Cup win over arch-rivals Real Madrid .
"I'm happy to score. I got two in my last two games and it makes me very pleased," Felix said.
"I play as I always play. Adapting depends on the players. It's just the start, although we're doing well. We'll work every day to have a good season."
Former Manchester United star Rooney also heaped praise on the starlet.
"I haven't seen too much of Joao Felix but... he looks like he has good technique," he said.
"I'm sure he will be a good player for Atletico in the near future. Of course, it's a big price to pay for such a young player, but that's the way the market is.
"Everyone is spending a lot of money. I remember a few years ago, (now Real coach) Zinedine Zidane went for over £46m and everyone was saying 'What's going on?' But that's the price you have to pay now."
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