Tactical Insights

Joao Cancelo reveals key reason behind desire for Barcelona move


Joao Cancelo has once again reiterated he is desperate to remain at Barcelona after his season-long loan deal came to an end.

The Portugal international was a key figure under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City before a sudden falling out with the manager led to his exit from the Etihad Stadium, firstly to Bayern Munich before relocating to Barcelona for the 2023/24 campaign.

However, as Barca remain tight on cash after years of financial mismanagement, a permanent transfer is unlikely to materialise this summer given Cancelo’s contract with City still has another three years left to run.

Cancelo, who is currently representing Portugal at Euro 2024, has admitted he longs to return to Catalonia rather than Manchester.

He said: “My hope is to continue in Barcelona. I am very happy there, and so is my family, let’s hope I can continue there next season.”

Barca understand they will have to pursue fresh loan deals for both Cancelo and Joao Felix if the duo are to play for the club again next season. Cityzens boss Pep Guardiola has already admitted the Premier League champions are open to allowing the former Juventus defender to leave temporarily again.

Joao Cancelo

Cancelo spent last season on loan with Barca / Eric Alonso/GettyImages

Cancelo impressed with his playmaking ability during some of City‘s most eye-catching performances in the 2021/22 campaign, grabbing seven assists in the league thanks to his brilliant passing range.

However, the 30-year-old found setting up goals a little trickier during his debut season with Barca, assisting four in La Liga and just one in the Champions League, also picking up seven bookings in Spain’s top flight.

Cancelo previously lashed out at former boss Guardiola, claiming the 53-year-old had told “lies” revolving around his suggested unhappiness at City before his exit.

Guardiola has since moved on, instead utilising talents like Josko Gvardiol, Kyle Walker, Nathan Ake and Rico Lewis in full-back positions.

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