Barcelona could scarcely have asked for more from Joao Cancelo in the opening stages of his loan move, having scored twice and assisted once in his first three starts. The Portuguese defender has been in fine form and looks to have given Xavi Hernandez an entirely new dimension to work with.
In part, the reason they were able to sign him is due to his falling out with Pep Guardiola. While neither have ever acknowledged a spat, in the space of six months, he went from a crucial player to persona non grata, and was loaned to Bayern Munich in January. This summer he was again loaned out to Barcelona.
Now Catalunya Radio have revealed the genesis of his ostracisation, as carried by Diario AS. According to their information, it all stemmed from a Manchester derby that Manchester City lost 2-1 last January, when Guardiola saw something he did not like from Cancelo.
The next game he was dropped for Rico Lewis, who performed well in a 4-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur, and then kept things the same for their 3-0 win over Wolves the next game. In the FA Cup fourth round, Cancelo remained on the bench, and hearing and seeing the Portuguese’s mannerisms and comments to his teammates on the bench, Guardiola told Directors Txiki Begiristain and Ferran Soriano that Cancelo had to be removed from the dressing room.
Xavi will be hoping it never comes to that with Cancelo. Barcelona hope to secure his signature next summer with a price tag already in mind. He will be 30 at that stage, and will still have three years left on his deal with City. For the Blaugrana, if Cancelo proves to be a success, then they will be keen to tie him down, given their chronic struggles at right-back.Read on football-espana.net