Barcelona’s recent acquisition, Joao Cancelo’s set Camp Nou ablaze with his electrifying performances. The Portuguese defender, on loan from Manchester City, has notched up two goals and one assist in his initial three starts for the Blaugrana. His rapid integration into Xavi Hernandez’s squad has brought newfound optimism to the Barcelona faithful. However, the intriguing story behind Cancelo’s exit from Manchester City sheds light on a peculiar falling out with Pep Guardiola, providing context to his journey to Catalonia.
Guardiola’s Unspoken Grievance
While both Pep Guardiola and Joao Cancelo have remained tight-lipped about their differences, Catalunya Radio recently unveiled the origins of this strained relationship. It all began after Manchester City’s 2-1 loss to arch-rivals Manchester United in January, a match where Guardiola observed something amiss in Cancelo’s performance. In response, the Portuguese full-back found himself relegated to the bench for the next game, with Rico Lewis taking his place and performing admirably in a 4-2 victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
Guardiola persisted with this change, even as City notched up a convincing 3-0 win against Wolves. Cancelo’s exclusion continued into the FA Cup fourth round. However, it was not just his absence from the field that irked Guardiola. The manager reportedly grew concerned about Cancelo’s demeanor on the bench, including his interactions with teammates, ultimately leading to Guardiola’s decision to banish him from the dressing room.
Xavi’s Aspirations for Cancelo
Barcelona, despite their struggles in the right-back position, are hoping for a different trajectory with Joao Cancelo. Cancelo’s impressive stint thus far has raised optimism for a long-term partnership. The club has already set its sights on securing Cancelo’s signature next summer when he will turn 30 and still have three years remaining on his Manchester City contract. If Cancelo continues to thrive in Catalonia, Barcelona is keen to solidify his presence, potentially resolving their persistent right-back woes.
Joao Cancelo’s arrival at Barcelona has brought excitement and rejuvenation to a squad eager for a renaissance. His dazzling performances and undeniable potential have reignited hopes for a stable right-back solution. While his history with Guardiola may have been tumultuous, Cancelo’s promising journey with Barcelona could be the dawn of a new era at Camp Nou. As fans eagerly await the future, they wonder whether Joao Cancelo is the missing puzzle piece in Barcelona’s quest for glory.