Barcelona ratings v Atletico Madrid: Joao Felix 8, Lewandowski 6

Joao Felix's superb dinked finish earned Barcelona a vital 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday in the La Liga title race

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Joao Felix's superb dinked finish earned Barcelona a vital 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday in the La Liga title race.

The Portuguese forward, on loan at Barca from Atletico, made no secret of his pleasure to escape the Spanish capital this summer and made his parent club pay at the Olympic Stadium.

Joao Felix was criticised by some Atletico players ahead of the game and Barca coach Xavi called on him to use those words as inspiration, which he duly did.

The forward's goal allowed Barca to reclaim third place from Atletico, now trailing leaders Real Madrid and second place Girona by four points.

"He made the difference for the team again, he gave everything, working hard, stealing the ball back, I am very happy for him," Xavi told reporters.

"I told him to be calm, this extra motivation sometimes speeds you up and you cross the line."

Xavi hailed his players' performance as a whole.

"The team had personality, we played very well today – maybe it's our best game of the season, a complete one, I would say.

"It's a very positive sign of what we can and should do in every game – this is what Barca should be."

Joao Felix celebrated his goal with arms aloft, standing on the advertising hoardings in front of the angry visiting supporters, while Rojiblancos coach Diego Simeone appeared disgruntled as he flashed up on the big screens.

The 24-year-old forward, a club record signing at €126 million ($137 million) in 2019, never settled in the capital and did not click with Simeone's management and playing style.

"It was spontaneous ... in the heat of the game and it was like a relief, for everything I lived through this summer," Joao Felix told Movistar about his celebration.

"Every week I'm talked about, whether for good or bad, I do my job, without looking at what they say or think."

Updated: December 04, 2023, 6:11 AM