Benfica ‘will not sell’ star Joao Felix – president

Benfica president Luis Filipe Viera has insisted rising star Joao Felix will not be sold this summer despite intense media speculation.

Felix, 19, has risen to prominence for the Lisbon-based giants this season and has netted 18 goals for the club, who now lead the Portuguese top flight.

The player’s contract at the Lisbon-based giants contains a €120m release clause although the report claims Benfica are trying to move this up to €200m.

Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have been heavily linked to the teenager, while Juventus and Manchester United are among the others clubs to be mentioned in relation to a move.

“In relation to our youngsters, mainly those that are today part of our main squad, Benfica will do everything so that no one leaves,” Viera told the Benfica website, as cited by ESPN.

“I can practically say and guarantee to Benfica fans that no one will leave. I'm one of the biggest mentors of this project and I will do everything within my power to ensure that no one leaves this year or next if possible.”

Felix has netted in two Lisbon derbies against Sporting CP this season and also scored against FC Porto in a key title clash in January.

That has led to the attack-minded midfielder being labelled as ‘the next Cristiano Ronaldo’ while Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Manchester United have also scouted the player.

“Right now we are not interested in selling Joao Felix, and soon we will increase his release clause,” Vieira told Tuttosport last month.

“He is one of the best products to have emerged from Portuguese football since Cristiano Ronaldo.”

Felix currently has a €120m release clause on a deal through to 2023, which Benfica are keen to improve.

“My dream has always been to play for the biggest clubs in Europe,” Felix said in March, in an interview with Marca.

“Spain or England? I would prefer to play in Spain.”

The player is said to be versatile and can operate in a number of attacking positions, while he starred in the UEFA Youth League semi-finals in 2016-17 against Real Madrid.

Tags Joao Felix