Herrera hails 'intelligent' Joao Felix ahead of Atletico link-up

By Sports Desk July 14, 2019

Hector Herrera is relishing the chance to call Joao Felix a team-mate at Atletico Madrid after the prodigiously talented teenager helped snatch silverware from his grasp last season.

Mexico midfielder Herrera signed a three-year deal at the Wanda Metropolitano earlier this month after six seasons with Porto in Portugal.

The 29-year-old was announced as a new addition on the same day as Joao Felix's arrival from Benfica for €126million.

The pair last crossed paths in March, when one of Joao Felix's 15 Primeira Liga goals helped Benfica to a crucial 2-1 victory at Estadio do Dragao.

Defeat proved costly for Porto as they finished two points adrift of the eventual champions, and the 19-year-old on the other team left a big impression on Herrera. 

"I really like how he plays," Herrera told AS when asked about Joao Felix, who netted 20 times in all competitions last term.

"What I noticed when I played against him was that he was extremely intelligent with his movement for someone so young. That's what I like about him. He's not the typical striker.

"And he has scored a lot of goals. He's a great player. I didn't want to wish him luck then, but I do now."

Atletico have been prolific in the transfer market in preparation for Antoine Griezmann's departure for Barcelona, which was confirmed on Friday.

Centre-back Felipe, also from Porto, and left-back Renan Lodi have been brought in as defensive reinforcements, while Diego Simeone lured midfielder Marcos Llorente away from city rivals Real Madrid.

Atleti returned to raid Benfica for young striker Ivan Saponjic on Thursday and have been linked to Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez.

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