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REAL MADRID

Real Madrid keeping tabs on "new Cristiano Ronaldo" João Félix

The 19-year-old attacking midfielder is being touted as the next Cristiano Ronaldo and has attracted interest from Barça, Atlético, PSG, Bayern and Juve.

João Félix has exploded onto the scene in Primeira Liga this season with Benfica and has already been touted as the brightest attacking talent to emerge in Portugal since Cristiano Ronaldo after knocking in eight goals in a little over 1,000 minutes of action in all competitions.

The Portuguese media have nicknamed the 19-year-old attacking midfielder “Hurricane Félix” after the 19-year-old became the youngest-ever player to score in a Lisbon derby following his promotion to the senior side at the start of the season.

When Benfica hosted Boavista on January 29, Félix’s admirers swelled the stands with scouts from Barcelona, Atlético, Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund, who were not disappointed as the youngster scored the opening goal, provided the assist for the third and started the move for the fourth as The Eagles hammered the visitors 5-1.

The following week, he scored one and assisted another in Benfica’s 4-2 away victory at bitter rivals Sporting, completing a personal and club double for the season in the Lisbon derby. He also won a penalty and had a goal disallowed after a VAR decision.

Benfica planning to raise Félix's clause to 200m

João Félix (R) after scoring against Sporting last weekend.

Real Madrid have been aware of Félix’s prowess ever since he destroyed Guti’s under-19s in the UEFA Youth League semi-finals in 2016-17 with a brace. And the Bernabéu has been keeping close tabs on him since then. Juventus, PSG, Monaco, Bayern, Milan and West Ham have all also been credited with an interest.

Benfica received a 60-million-euro offer from an unnamed Premier League club for Féilx in January and responded by handing him a pay rise and hiking his release clause to 120 million euros. The Portugal under-21 international is under contract at the Estádio da Luz until 2023 and Benfica are working on an improved deal and a another bump in his clause to 200 million euros.

Some scouts have described Félix’s potential as on a par with Kylian Mbappé and in Portugal comparisons to a young Ronaldo have been made. A bidding war is inevitable this summer and Madrid are hopeful they can beat off competition from the rest of Europe for a player who can operate on the wings, as a striker or as an attacking midfielder.