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Hansi Flick takes a gamble on Joao Felix's Barcelona contract renewal

Joao Felix, the Portuguese prodigy, has experienced a significant dip in his career trajectory in the just finished La Liga season.

Despite a promising start in La Liga with FC Barcelona, Felix found himself benched from January onwards, falling out of favour with then-coach Xavi Hernandez.

At 24, Felix had already played under six managers since his high-profile €127 million transfer from Benfica to Atletico Madrid in July 2019. Xavi's approach did not align with Felix's playing style, leading to his side-lining.

However, a new chapter appears to be unfolding under Barcelona's new manager, Hansi Flick. Reports from Sport indicate that Flick, alongside sporting director Deco, are optimistic about unlocking Felix's full potential, which has been largely untapped since his move to Spain.

Flick's belief in Felix represents a significant shift in Barcelona's strategy. Deco and Flick see Felix as a valuable asset, and their confidence has encouraged Felix to push for a return to Barcelona. He has reportedly turned down lucrative offers from Saudi Arabia and a potential loan move back to Benfica, signalling his commitment to proving himself at Camp Nou.

The Barcelona management are said to believe that Xavi did not adequately utilize Felix's talents. With limited options, Atletico Madrid have agreed to another loan spell, albeit without an option for Barcelona to buy.

The reports have suggested the clubs are working on the financial details to finalize the deal. Atletico's manager, Diego Simeone, has given Felix permission to train alone, bypassing the start of the preseason with Atletico, indicating Simeone's willingness to let Felix move on.

Despite his challenges, Felix's talent is undeniable. His performances against Atletico and Porto last season showcased his ability to make a significant impact. However, with the frequent changes in management and systems around him, Felix faces a critical juncture in his career. The influence of his agent Jorge Mendes, known for his strong connections at Barcelona, has also played a role in this renewed opportunity.

Barcelona's gamble on Felix is a testament to their faith in his abilities and the hope that under Flick's guidance, he can rediscover the form that once made him one of Europe's most sought-after young talents.

This upcoming La Liga season will be pivotal for Felix, as he aims to finally cement his place and prove his worth in one of football's most prestigious clubs.

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