FC Barcelona desperately needed the three points when they hosted Atlético de Madrid on Sunday night, and they got the job done. A João Félix goal in the first half was enough for Barça to secure a 1-0 victory, one which completely shakes up the LALIGA EA SPORTS title race.
Following the results of Matchday 15, Real Madrid and Girona FC still lead the way on 38 points each courtesy of their latest wins. FC Barcelona are now just four points back on 34 points, while Atlético de Madrid will also be on 34 points if they win their game in hand, which is coming up against Sevilla FC later this December. It truly is a four horse race and next Sunday's FC Barcelona vs Girona FC fixture could be key in deciding the destination of the trophy.
FC Barcelona will enter that Catalan derby full of confidence and on the back of two important victories. After João Félix produced the winner on Tuesday night as Barça defeated Porto 2-1 to clinch qualification for the next round of the Champions League, the 24-year-old was the team's hero again on Sunday by beautifully dinking a ball over former teammate Jan Oblak in the 28th minute of the match.
Even though João Félix is on loan at the Estadi Olímpic from Atleti, he was keen to celebrate the goal given its importance for his current club. By standing on one of the advertising boards and raising his arms towards the crowd of Barça fans, the Portuguese forward produced an epic image for the ages.
“It was spontaneous," he said of the celebration after the match “It was like a relief for everything I'd been through, especially last summer. Every week people talk about me, whether good or bad. I'm always a topic. But, I stay calm and don't look at what they're saying, as I just do my job. This has been possible thanks to hard work and the help of my teammates and the club. I'm very grateful to everyone."
Xavi is also grateful to have a talent like João Félix in his squad. As the coach stated: “We're very happy with him. He's working very well and giving us good performances. I'm delighted to have him in the team."
With his finish on Sunday night, João Félix now has five goals and three assists to his name this season across all competitions. Only Robert Lewandowski has more direct goal contributions than that in the FC Barcelona squad.
It's clear that João Félix is content and comfortable in Catalonia, playing a of football that suits his skillset and embracing the leadership role that Xavi has given him. Having won LALIGA EA SPORTS with Atlético de Madrid in 2020/21, he knows what it takes to win this competition and is determined to lift that trophy once again.
By earning his team three crucial points on Sunday, he is a step closer to achieving that dream.