Joao Felix to Atletico: Six Rojiblancos forwards teenage star can emulate
Portuguese sensation Joao Felix has the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of some of Europe's finest forwards after opting to join Atletico Madrid rather than any of the other huge clubs chasing his signature.
The 19-year-old scored 15 goals in 26 Primeira Liga appearances during his first season in the Benfica side and his dynamic performances lit up the Eagles' campaign as they edged a wonderfully close 2018-19 title race.
Scorer of a Europa League hat-trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in April, Joao Felix has earned a reputation for breathtaking moments of skill, and he possesses the kind of exquisitely delicate touch that would make him an ideal replacement for outgoing Atletico forward Antoine Griezmann.
With Atleti spending €126million to land Joao Felix, fans at the Wanda Metropolitano could be about to witness another icon in the making as Diego Simeone prepares his team for a shot at the LaLiga title.
Joao Felix has some impressive boots to fill at Atletico – a club that demands greatness from their forwards, and in recent years has witnessed plenty of it.
Madrid born and bred, Torres is every inch an Atletico legend. Captain of the club at the age of just 19, he helped lift Atleti out of Segunda Division in 2001-02 and the club has never looked back. While it could be argued that Liverpool got Torres' very best years, he was outstanding in his first spell with the Rojiblancos, scoring 19 goals in 35 LaLiga appearances in 2003-04. He was less prolific after returning to the club in 2014-15, but had a minutes-per-goal average of 153.7 the following season.
So prolific has he been in the sky blue of Manchester City, it is easy to forget that Aguero was also a lethal marksman during five superb seasons at Atletico. Javier Aguirre was in charge of the club when Aguero arrived in a €21.7m switch from Independiente and, after a slow start, he emerged as the club's leading marksman as Torres headed for Liverpool, scoring 74 goals in 175 LaLiga appearances.
Atletico paid Villarreal €21m for Forlan in June 2007 and he repaid their faith in him over four goal-laden seasons, the best of which came in 2008-09 when he plundered 32 strikes in 33 LaLiga matches. He netted 74 league goals in total for Atleti, and chipped in with 23 assists.
The two seasons Falcao spent at Atletico were among the very best of his glittering career. He scored 24 league goals in his first season after arriving in a €40m switch from Porto before netting 28 in LaLiga the following term and helping the club to glory in the Copa del Rey. Of all the players on this list, he has the lowest minutes-per-goal average, netting once every 112 minutes in an Atleti shirt.
Costa's third spell at Atletico looks set to come to an end after two disappointing seasons in which he scored just five goals in 31 games, but he remains an icon in the eyes of the club's supporters for his exploits in 2013-14, when his 27 goals were instrumental in winning them the LaLiga title for the 10th time.
Griezmann had not scored more than 16 goals in a LaLiga season when Atletico paid Real Sociedad €30m for him in July 2014. Since then he has netted 94 in total for the Rojiblancos and contributed 32 assists, while he also helped the club to glory in the Europa League, the Spanish Super Cup and the UEFA Super Cup before announcing his intention to leave this off-season.