Tactical Insights

FC Barcelona Star Joao Cancelo Attacks Guardiola And Manchester City

FC Barcelona loanee Joao Cancelo took a dig at his parent club Manchester City and their head coach Pep Guardiola during an interview with A Bola.

Cancelo is currently proving a roaring success in Catalonia, where Barca looks likely to try and make his loan move permanent ahead of next season.

Bought from Juventus in 2019 by City, who made him the most expensive right back ever at the time, life also began well at the Etihad until a falling-out with Blaugrana legend Guardiola.

Cancelo was shipped out on loan to Bayern Munich in January 2023, but when the Bavarians declined the chance to purchase him outright, an opportunity opened up for him to join Xavi Hernandez’s squad on deadline day as the summer transfer window that year drew to a close.

Amid RAC1 reporting how Barca medical experts suspected he could have a hereditary heart condition, Cancelo spoke to A Bola while on international duty for Portugal and was asked about his relationship with Guardiola and the Mancunians.

“I think Manchester City were a bit ungrateful to me when they told me that, because I was a very important player in the years I was there,” Cancelo said about his departure.

“I never failed in my commitment to the club, to the fans, and I always gave everything. I remember a time when I was mugged and attacked, and the next day I was playing at the Emirates against Arsenal.

“These are things that are not forgotten. I left my wife and daughter alone at home, terrified. People will only remember this because Mr. Guardiola has much more strength than me when he says something, and I prefer to keep it to myself, Cancelo added, in a nod to public criticism from the manager.

Cancelo also didn’t like Guardiola slating him before the media about allegedly being unhappy with the performances of ex-teammates Rico Lewis and Nathan Ake.

“Lies were told,” he insisted. “I’ve never been a bad colleague to them, and you can ask Ake or Rico. I don’t have any superiority or inferiority complex towards them, but that’s the coach’s opinion.”

As for his time at the Montjuic Stadium up until now, Cancelo claims to be living a “special moment” as a Barca fan.

“My whole family is Benfica, but I’ve always admired Barcelona. All my idols played here, I like the way they view the youngsters, [and] they have a game culture that I love,” he said.

“Then I went there, I took a pay cut, and that doesn’t bother me in the least. It was the third time I was about to come to Barcelona and I’m finally here.”

Following the international break, Cancelo should line up for Xavi against Las Palmas on March 30.

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