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Joao Felix has emphasized that he is “not the villain” in his ongoing disagreement with his parent club, Atletico Madrid, following his scoring exploits against them while playing for Barcelona.

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The Portuguese forward moved to Barcelona on a straightforward loan deal on the final day of the summer 2023 transfer window. Throughout much of the window, Felix attempted to secure a transfer to the Spanish champions, citing it as a lifelong ambition.

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According to La Liga regulations, loaned players are permitted to compete against their parent clubs. Felix notably scored the solitary goal in a 1-0 triumph against Atletico in December, and he followed that up with the opening goal in Barcelona’s 3-0 victory at the Civitas Metropolitano on Sunday.

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Prior to the match, Atletico fans defaced Felix’s plaque outside the stadium and proceeded to jeer and whistle at him throughout his 77 minutes on the field.

Speaking to ESPN after the game, Felix asserted that fans are unaware of the full story behind his strained relationship with Atletico.

“The spectators here watching the game don’t have access to the internal happenings,” Felix remarked. “My [Atletico] teammates are aware, and as you can see, I have a good relationship with all of them.

“I took a moment to speak with Samuel Lino and [Thomas] Lemar, while others approached me with hugs, conversations, and inquiries about my family. I harbor no ill will towards them, and they hold none towards me.

“In the end, I am not the antagonist in this situation, but I comprehend the sentiments of the supporters here because they are not privy to everything.”

Felix’s loan arrangement does not include a purchase option, meaning unless an agreement is reached before summer, he will have to return to Atletico for pre-season ahead of the 2024/25 campaign.

Reports from Spain suggest that Barcelona will attempt to secure another loan deal for him before eventually purchasing him at a discounted price.

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