Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Joao Cancelo hits out at Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola over “lies” about exit reasons

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Joao Cancelo left Manchester City to join Barcelona for a second loan spell away from the Etihad at the start of the season, having spent the second half of last season on a similar mission at Bayern Munich. Rumours, reportedly coming from City boss Pep Guardiola, suggested the Portugal international had been a “bad influence in the dressing room”, and speaking to outlet A Bola in his homeland, the 29-year-old fiercely refuted the accusations.

“Lies were told. I was never a bad companion for them and you can ask either [Nathan] Ake or Rico [Lewis]. I don’t have any superiority or inferiority complex towards them.

“I think Manchester City were a bit ungrateful to me when they said that because I was a very important player in the years I was there.

“I never failed in my commitment to the club, to the fans. I always gave everything.”

Cancelo also referred to the game he played against Arsenal in North London on the first day of 2022, hours after he was physically attacked and his house robbed.

“I remember a time when I was robbed and attacked and the next day I was playing at the Emirates against Arsenal.

“These are things you don’t forget. 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 to myself.”

Such bust-ups, or parting shots if you will, are obviously nothing new. Managers sometimes need to phase out long-serving members of their squads gradually, introducing new, younger ones into the fold as they seek ways to maintain their success over a long period.

Few will know about staying successful as well as “Mr. Guardiola”, whose team has won five Premier League titles over the last six seasons, topping it off with the long-elusive Champions League trophy, and the FA Cup to complete the great treble in 2022/23.

However, sometimes its hard to understand the need to explain the changes in the squad by trashing the players on the way out, which, when it comes to Guardiola, also isn’t anything new. Just ask Yaya Toure. Even if his words are true, which Cancelo obviously disputes, there’s no need to go public with such information.

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Cancelo joined City from Juventus back in 2019 and made a total of 154 appearances in all competitions, more than any other club in his illustrious career, scoring nine goals and producing 22 assists. Though a right-back by trade, his versatility allows him to play well on the left side of the back line too, and such players are usually valued greatly in the game today.

After everything that’s been said, it’s hard to imagine the 50-cap Portugal international ever wearing the sky-blue shirt of Manchester City again, even though there’s three years left on his contract with the Premier League champions. It’s reasonable to expect him to push for a permanent exit, once his loan at Barcelona expires.

Being such a successful manager, widely considered a tactical genius, Guardiola is not very likely to ever have problems with players not wanting to play for him, but maybe he should be showing a little more respect for those who leave everything on the pitch for him, the club and the fans. He certainly got as much from Cancelo every time.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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