In the summer of 2019, Portuguese professional footballer Joao Felix announced his retirement from football due to a persistent injury. The striker had been a mainstay in Portugal’s Primeira Liga throughout his career, scoring more than 100 goals in the process. He briefly returned for a single match during the 2019–20 season, but has since announced his intention to step away from professional football due to ongoing injury concerns. During his time in the top flight, Felix managed to rack up an incredible 107 appearances and score 82 goals for FC Porto. He also played a key role in helping his country finish fifth in the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. Here, we take a closer look at his incredible achievements and his influence on the game.
Why Did Felix Consider Retiring?
Portuguese media outlet O Jogo revealed in the summer of 2019 that Felix had considered retirement due to persistent injury issues. The striker had been carrying an adductor muscle injury since the start of the 2018–19 season and, as a result, had not featured for club or country since the end of the 2017–18 campaign. Despite managing to return for a single match during the 2019–20 season, the 34-year-old saw no real prospect of featuring regularly enough to have a meaningful impact on Portugal’s fortunes or World Cup qualifying. The former Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur man was finally forced to admit defeat and announced his retirement from football. 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.
An Injury-Fuelled Quest For Excellence
Felix became a professional footballer at the age of 16. He began his career at local sides C.D. Filipe II and A.C. Camara before moving to Portugal’s top flight in 2011. He was a member of the Porto side that won the double in his first season with the club, before going on to establish himself as one of Europe’s most in-demand strikers. It was during this time that he began suffering from the adductor injury that eventually ended his career. The striker spent five months of the 2017–18 season out of action, ultimately making 12 appearances and contributing three goals for the Primeira Liga side.
It was during his 2018–19 campaign that Felix began to feature regularly for Porto and put this injury-interrupted period behind him. He started the season well, managing to score 13 goals in his first 16 matches, before suffering a hamstring injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the season. Upon his return, the striker scored 12 goals in 14 appearances. The following campaign was even more successful, with Felix finding the back of the net 28 times in 32 games. His form merited a call-up to Portugal’s international side, where he featured in a friendly against Italy and Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Hungary. Unfortunately, despite his excellent goalscoring form, the 34-year-old did not manage to prevent Portugal from crashing out of the European Championship at the group stage.
A Life In Football
Since the end of his playing days, Felix has been involved in football. He began working as a football commentator for Portuguese media outlet Observador Digital in the summer of 2019. In addition to this role, he works as a pundit for Portuguese television channel SIC and the club’s website.
The striker’s career wasn’t all plain sailing, however. He did suffer an embarrassing injury during a 2018–19 pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich. The German champions held a 20-minute celebration for the win, in which Felix was caught on camera hopping around like a goat.
Bayern Munich players hoisted Felix on their shoulders and paraded him around the pitch in celebration of the win. This incident was later followed by a satirical Instagram post, in which the German giants’ fans gave the celebration a nickname: The Goat Parade. Since then, the Goat Parade has become a term used to describe the embarrassing celebrations that often pop up during pre-season friendlies. To this day, Felix still refers to the celebration when recounting the incident.
A Striker’s Striker
During his time at Manchester City, Felix was deployed as a centre-forward. This was initially a tactic used to counter Leicester City’s defensive line. The Foxes had the capability to stop any striker but, due to a series of unfortunate events, it was usually Felix who had to break the deadlock. With his typical no-nonsense attacking style, the 34-year-old was never one to suffer defeat willingly, scoring the winning goal in a 2–1 victory over Leicester City in the FA Cup.
In 2017, Felix was voted the English Premier League’s Player of the Season for his impressive campaign. He scored 22 goals in 26 matches and led the way for Portuguese compatriots Jorge Andres and Gelson Martins as they claimed the Premier League title. His excellent form at the top of the table was rewarded in May when he was named in the England squad for the 2018 World Cup. Unfortunately, despite being arguably the best striker in the world, injury struck again and he was forced to bow out of the tournament before the start of the second round.
The Best Of Both Worlds
Since retiring from football, Felix has taken the opportunity to link up with Jorge Andres, who he knows from his time at Manchester City, at Sporting CP. The former England international and current manager of Portugal’s under-23 side has given the 34-year-old a role as Sporting CP’s assistant director of football. The pair will be responsible for analysing match data and player performances.
Their first assignment was to work on Portugal’s Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. Sporting finished fifth in the final standings, missing out on the play-offs by a point. This campaign saw Sporting deploy a different formation to that which Felix is accustomed to playing in, with the former England international having to adjust to a more defensive role. In an interview with Portuguese newspaper Jornal de Notícias, Felix said that he is relishing the opportunity to work with Andres and helping the team prepare for the upcoming Euros: “It’s an honour to work with Andres, one of the best managers in the world, who has a special bond with Portugal. I want to help the [Portugal] team prepare for the Euros and help them get results.”
Andres’ managerial acumen has not gone unnoticed by the Portuguese Football Federation. In March 2021, Felix was called up to the Portugal national team for the first time in nearly four years and was named in the squad for the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying campaign. He started both matches as Portugal’s designated striker and helped the team reach the finals, where they will compete for a spot at the 2024 Olympics.
A Formidable Partnership
In addition to working with Andres, Felix has also teamed up with former Bayern Munich teammate Arjen Robben. The Dutchman helped guide the 33-year-old in his international career, scoring two goals in nine appearances for the Portugese national side. The striker commented: “Arjen has been an advisor during my time at Sporting and I will always be grateful for what he has done for me.”
At Euro 2020, Portugal were drawn in a tough group alongside Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland. Despite only having one point from a possible nine after two matches, the team are optimistic about making the play-offs. Felipe Luis, who captains the side, said: “We are very happy because it is a very favourable group. Our objective now is to make the play-offs and go from there.”
Portugal’s next tournament will be the 2024 Olympics, where they are once again drawn in a favourable group. The team will have high hopes of claiming a medal, with many believing that Portugal have the building blocks to produce one of Europe’s best teams. As for when he will hang up his boots, Felix said: “There are no plans to retire just yet. When I do, I will look back on my time with fondness and not believe that it has really happened. I am grateful for every day that I have had in football and I always want to give my best on the pitch.