Thursday, July 25, 2024

Cancelo planning to grasp Euro opportunity after 2020 Portugal disappointment

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Jun 2024

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Joao Cancelo is hoping to guide Portugal to their second European Championship crown in what will be his first appearance at the tournament.

The 30-year-old, who spent the 2023-24 season on loan with Bayern Munich and Barcelona, was forced to miss Euro 2020 after testing positive for Coronavirus.

Cancelo was replaced in the squad by Diogo Dalot, but featured at his first major tournament for the Selecao at the World Cup in Qatar two years ago.

Portugal start their group campaign in Leipzig against Czechia on Tuesday, and the defender is looking to make up for a lost opportunity in Germany this time around.

“It was unfair, because I had a great season, I felt like I should have been there but life didn’t want it that way,” said Cancelo.

“Maybe I had to wait for this moment to be the right one to assert myself.”

“No matter how many clubs I play for, the national team is the highlight of my career because in it I represent my family, my friends who played with me on the street,” he added.

“It’s always the highlight, whether in a friendly or in top competition.”

Following their encounter with Ivan Hasek’s side, Portugal travel to Dortmund to face Turkiye before concluding their group fixtures against Georgia on June 26.

Roberto Martinez will take charge of his first major tournament since being appointed as Fernando Santos’ successor at the beginning of 2023.

The Spaniard guided the Selecao to an unbeaten qualifying campaign, the only side to do so out of the 24 teams in the competition, with Cancelo praising the 50-year-old’s impact on the squad since his arrival.

“He is a coach who from the first day made me feel at ease, both on a sporting and personal level.

“He is very close to the players, has good ideas, likes attacking, offensive and attractive football and I identify with that because I think the same way,” added Cancelo.

“We hope to bring him joy. He has made a difference since he arrived and has adapted very quickly.”

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