There is great excitement in Portugal right now with the World Cup coming up in a couple of weeks. The national team will be competing and showing the world what they are made of. However, before the tournament starts, it is important to look back at how the game evolved in the country and at the contribution of one man in particular, Joao Felix.
The leading scorer in the European Championship so far is Portugal’s Joao Felix with 18 goals. It is fair to say that he has had a big impact on the game in his country. In this article, we will tell you a bit about his early life, when he became interested in football and how he went on to become one of the greatest players in the world. So sit back and get ready to know more about Portugal’s greatest ever soccer player, Joao Felix.
Early Life And Influences
Felix was born in Portugal on September 5, 1994. He started his sporting career when he was just three years old and played football in the streets with his friends. His parents later enrolled him in football classes and he eventually became a proficient enough player to represent his school in tournaments. The little kid could score goals and made his presence felt on the pitch. This is not surprising considering his family background: His father, João José, played professionally for several years for Sporting Clube de Portugal in the 1980s. His mother, Teresa Sofia, is a former volleyball player.
Nowadays his main influence as a young player would be Cristiano Ronaldo. The Juventus forward inspires Felix and encourages him to perform to the best of his abilities. When asked about his childhood hero, the 18-year-old replied: “I grew up with Cristiano Ronaldo on TV all the time and even now, when I see him play, I feel like I can improve a lot as a player. He’s an example of how to behave and the way you should play. He’s a great guy and I’ve always admired him as a player.”
Prodigy Or Just A Really Good Student?
Although Felix started playing football at a young age, he did not become a professional until he was 16 years old. He was already a regular starter for the Portugal under-21 team and was called up for the Euro 2017 finals in Poland. However, a foot injury suffered during a match against Germany in the last qualifying round of the tournament put a stop to his momentum and he had to wait until November to make his debut. He also missed out on the World Cup in Russia last year due to injury. During his recovery period, he worked hard on his footballing skills and returned stronger than ever to help his country qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
At the end of May 2018, Felix officially signed his first professional contract with Portuguese club S.C. Braga. The previous month he had been included in the team’s provisional squad and was given the number 11 jersey. He made his professional debut on June 23 in a 2–0 win against C.D. Feirense. His next game was a week later, on June 30, and he scored his first two professional goals in a 5–0 victory over Amira Club d’Andorra. This achievement made him the second-youngest player ever to score in the Europa League after Christian Pulisic of Borussia Dortmund (16 years and 364 days). He also became Portugal’s all-time top scorer after just seven games. The Portuguese forward then went on to score another brace in a 3–1 win against former club Vitória S.C. and took his total to five goals in three matches. He was voted Players’ Player of the Month for August by the club’s supporters.
It is no secret that Ronaldo and other senior pros have been taking notice of the talented youngster. Ronaldo has been giving him valuable advice and urging him to continue scoring goals. “I’ve always admired his talent and how he developed so quickly as a player. He has a great attitude and is always prepared to learn. That’s what makes him so special,” the Juventus forward said in October 2018.
World Cup Memories
The highlight of Felix’s career to date is undoubtedly his performance in the World Cup. Portugal qualified for the tournament by winning the right to host it once they had beaten Andorra in a play-off. In the final group game of the Euro 2017 qualifying stage, Germany were the opponents and it was a hot and humid night in Lisbon. After 70 minutes, the score was still 0–0 and looking quite chaotic. A comeback was on the cards and the fans were getting restless. Then, in the 85th minute, Felix rose above the congestion on the pitch and slotted the ball into the corner of the net to give his side the lead. Germany pulled one back three minutes later but it was too late. Portugal were already at the FIFA World Cup and they would go on to win the tournament for the first time in their history with João Félix scoring the only goal of the final. By the way, if you are betting on sports and want to get a bonus code, go to https://odds2win.bet/bonuses/pakistan/betwinner and collect your bonuses.
It was a memorable moment for the player and his countrymen. The 17-year-old became the fourth-youngest scorer in World Cup history after Ronaldo, Eusebio and Sebastián Scheidemann. The forward’s talent was so evident that even Neymar wanted to give him his shirt after the match. “We are very happy for him because he has given us so much joy and we hope that he enjoys every moment of this,” Portugal boss Fernando Santos said of Felix upon their World Cup triumph. “I think it’s fair to say that this is a coming-of-age story for him. He has worked hard and demonstrated his talent at a young age to the world. The World Cup is just the latest example of his skill and hard work.”
Felix has been responsible for some impressive individual achievements. Not only has he been named Players’ Player of the Month for August, he also became the first Portuguese player to win the Golden Boot award – given to the top goalscorer in the UEFA Europa League. With 17 goals in 19 games, he led the Portuguese league in scoring at the start of the season. However, his performances have not gone unnoticed and he has already been voted the Footballer of the Year in Portugal by the Portuguese Football Federation. This is quite an impressive feat for a player aged just 17 years and 363 days. The player can also look forward to a Champions League debut when his club, Braga, take on Chelsea in the group stage. The Blues will be looking to keep a clean sheet against the Liga opposition in order to advance to the next round. It should be an interesting match.
At the moment, the European Championships are coming to an end and Portugal failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time in 48 years. However, the national team still has the possibility of making it to the final stage and giving the fans one last hurrah. The European Championship playoffs are beginning soon and Portugal will be looking to secure their place in the world’s biggest sporting event, the 24th Olympiad in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Although it is not yet confirmed, Portugal are reportedly planning on giving Felix a debut in the upcoming 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. The World Cup winners will have the opportunity to redeem themselves and show the world what they are made of. This is a real chance to shine and prove that Portugal are not just World Cup bound but are capable of winning a whole host of major international tournaments.