The young Portuguese worked with Tralhao at Benfica before joining Atleti last season, and has hit the ground running in 2020/21 after a year of transition.
Felix turned 21 this week and is beginning to look every inch of the €126m player that he had initially been lauded as, with seven goals and three assists in ten competitive starts for Los Rojiblancos so far this season.
Only Real Sociedad’s Mikel Oyarzabal has more than him, while he’s level with Villarreal’s Paco Alcacer and his Uruguayan teammate Luis Suarez.
Tralhao, who discovered Felix at Benfica and was integral in shaping his development, is happy with his former charge. “Joao is an elite player,” he told RMC Sport as carried by Mundo Deportivo. “There are very few players like Joao in the world – he stands apart.
“In France, there is [Kylian] Mbappe, a player everyone knows is going to reach the top of world football. Mbappe will be a candidate for the Ballon d’Or.
“Here in Portugal we say that Joao Felix will also be in the fight – what’s more, I’m sure that one day Joao will win the Ballon d’Or. I have no doubts about it.”
Felix is already close to bettering his tally from 2019/20, where he scored nine goals and assisted three in his debut season for Diego Simeone’s side.
The season before that, his last in his native land, he scored 20 goals and contributed eleven assists – the season before that, he wasn’t even in Benfica’s first team.
Featured image courtesy of Goal.