In the first preseason sessions of Atlético, it was necessary to fine tune the view so as not to confuse Felipe (Mogi das Cruzes, 1989) with Diego Costa. His physiognomy and beard invited cheating. Fortunately, they stepped in far-off areas of the countryside. His signing for the club rojiblanco was announced weeks after Diego Godín had left a handful of tears in the auditorium of the Metropolitan. And the Brazilian central was recruited from Porto, in exchange for 20 million, to fill part of that gap. More in football than in emotional. To such an extent that his appearances in Atlético, always with Giménez, have been as a left-handed center. Like the Uruguayan. His experience in Portugal and, also, his voracity in the air game attracted the attention of Andrea Berta , athletic sports director, when the old, firm and faithful behind of Simeone threatened demolition for things of the DNI.

And that when El Cholo landed in Atlético, in that icy red and white winter of 2011, Felipe was still not entirely clear about his future. He had made a football break with only 10 years to try basketball and volleyball and did not step on the grass again until he was of age. His premiere in the Brazilian Serie A (First Division) came just turned 23, with the Corinthians shirt. They were two brief minutes before Palmeiras . What is said a late landing in the elite. It did not cross the Atlantic until 2016, only three years ago, when Porto paid eight million for its transfer. But in his three seasons there (142 games) he did not miss a single game due to injury. «When I started late in football, I didn't suffer so much wear. That, and genetics, ”he argued in a recent interview with the newspaper As .

The years he flirted with amateur basketball allowed him to boost his jumping ability. And that, together with its 1.91 meters high, of course, make it a threat to a standing ball. Simeone has one more key to unblock matches, as Godín did on a handful of occasions. The Brazilian, yes, celebrates it with a somersault in the air.

And yet, in the two months of competition, Felipe has spent more time sitting on the bench than stalking on the grass. His balance: a ghost premiere of a minute in Leganés, at the end of August, two complete LaLiga matches (Celta and Mallorca) and one of Champions (Lokomotiv). In all of them, Atlético ended the goal intact. Now, the loss of Savic , who will be out for about a month due to a muscle injury in the left thigh, gives him against Valencia his first option to settle in the ownership of the new red and white defender with Giménez . Although without neglecting, since Hermoso, which cost more than him (25), yearns for his moment and does not lose hope of going to the European Championship.

Herrera Company

«He is a nice and outgoing boy, pending from the beginning of young people like Lodi or Joao [Felix]. Because of his character he had no problem to fit in the locker room, ”they say from the rojiblanco club. For Felipe it was all simpler because that same trip to Madrid was made by the Mexican Héctor Herrera , companion and captain of Porto. The Brazilian central also had to stick the dragon bracelet once in a while. The language was not a problem either because some of his new comrades speak Portuguese. Namely: Costa, Lodi , Herrera himself and Joao Felix , the boy with 79 in his shirt that took the colors on that March night in Do Dragao. Joao started the comeback in his latest classic.

During the first pre-season days, Simeone kept insisting on tactical issues. Same as the new ones. That intensity was not new to him, accustomed to Sergio Conceiçao's methods in Porto. Felipe, who moved just over 30 million in transfers (20 from Atlético) has been late for football, but on time.

Although against Valencia, after only two goals in the last five LaLiga matches, both the stands and Simeone will look again at the trident. «I see barbarians and Costa barbarians, beyond being able to show it with goals». Today they have exam. Same as Felipe.

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