“I’m Cancelo and I’m Going to Play” – Joao Cancelo’s Fall-Out With Pep Guardiola at Manchester City Revealed

Published Dec 2, 2023 | 2:50 AM EST

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Take the name of Joao Cancelo and few can’t help but recall his ability to play in diverse positions on the field and the astonishing goal that he scored against New Castle United in December 2021 at St. James Park. The Portuguese full-back has been a consistent presence in the Manchester City side so when he was loaned away to FC Barcelona till June 30, 2024, from August this year, fans were left wondering why this happened. His performances in FC Barcelona have been top notch too. The defender helped FC Barcelona qualify for the UEFA Champions League RO16 by getting his name on the scoresheet. So, what happened? Why the loan?

The simple answer was – He apparently had a fallout with City manager Pep Guardiola, but now more shocking details have come to light. According to journalist and author, Martí Perarnau, who appeared in the ‘Que t’hi jugues!’ show there were multiple reasons that triggered Joao Cancelo’s frustration. The problems started after last year’s World Cup.

What was Joao Cancelo’s conflict with Pep Guardiola?


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As stated by the website, CadenaSer, Perarnau said that at the beginning of 2023, the City’s primary right back, Kyle Walker, was injured, while Cancelo returned with a very poor form in the World Cup. This forced Guardiola to summon 17-year-old academy product, Rico Lewis. Interestingly, the gamble proved favorable, as the youngster impressed against Chelsea and Liverpool. 

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Notably, this didn’t settle in the eyes of Cancelo. He refused to acknowledge Guardiola’s decision and insisted on being selected over Rico Lewis. The Portuguese player explicitly expressed his demand to play, asserting, I’m Cancelo and I’m going to play, and not this kid [translated by DeepL]. Unfortunately, this not only displeased Pep but also created tension among some teammates, intensifying the conflict between the coach and the player.

Be that as it may, it is quite an eyebrow-raising revelation. While Cancelo may have lost City’s dressing room, he has won a special place in Barcelona. 


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Cancelo has become a hero in Barcelona

The defender continues to leave an indelible mark in the Camp Nou. He has made 16 appearances in both La Liga and the Champions League and has bagged three crucial goals and two assists. Additionally, the former Bayern Munich loanee has naturally filled the right-back void, which the Blaugranes have been struggling with in the past few years. 

via Reuters

Overall, his arrival has been a blessing for the La Liga side, as both Cancelo and Barcelona are on the lookout to achieve glory this season. The draw for the round of 16 is going to take place on December 12, 2023. What role will Cancelo play in the fortunes of Barcelona going ahead in the UEFA Cup and will it be enough to earn the forgiveness of Pep Guardiola? Watch this space for more in the coming days. 


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Written by:

Abhishek Mishra


One take at a time

I first kicked a soccer ball when I was 12. My early exposure to playing the sport earned me many accolades at the zonal and district levels. I still remember my first goal, where I scored a 90+5 minute header like Sergio Ramos did in the 2014 Champions League final against Atletico Madrid.
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Edited by:

Sreeda U M