Joao Felix becomes fifth most expensive transfer in history

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Joao Felix with former club Benfica

Atletico Madrid confirmed the signing of 19-year-old Portuguese forward Joao Felix from Benfica for 126 million euros, the clubs announced.

The fee is a record for a Portuguese club and for Atletico Madrid, which makes the teenager one of the five most expensive players in history.

Atletico tweeted a video of the player in the Prado gallery in Madrid contemplating paintings by old masters, with the phrase, “enormous talent”, before he turned and smiled at the camera with the caption: “Welcome Joao Felix, pure talent.”

Felix has signed a seven-year contract.

He is a potential replacement for Antoine Griezmann who scored 133 goals in five seasons at the club. He is expected to join Barcelona when his release clause, which dropped to 120 million euros on Monday, is activated.

Felix, a forward who can play on either flank or centrally, has enjoyed a breakthrough season at Benfica, scoring 20 goals in 43 games and helping the club win the Portugese league title.

He also made his debut for Portugal earlier this month, starting alongside Cristiano Ronaldo in their Nations League semi-final win over Switzerland.

Atletico coach Diego Simeone said in June that the Portuguese prodigy was in his sights.

“He’s a young player,” Simeone told Fox Sports Argentina. “Historically, Atletico Madrid is a club that buys young players in order to develop and improve them… Like Griezmann, who when he arrived was not what he is today.”

Felix becomes the most expensive Portuguese player in history, breaking the record of 105 million euros Juventus paid last summer for Cristiano Ronaldo.

The world transfer record is the 222 million euros Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona for Neymar in 2017.