·21 September 2023
·21 September 2023
After a long wait through the summer, Joao Cancelo finally arrived at FC Barcelona on the transfer deadline day, signing on a season-long loan deal from Manchester City.
The 29-year-old Portuguese international had been on manager Xavi Hernandez’s mind since January itself, but a move did not materialise back then.
And at times during the summer, too, there were fears that the deal might not go through. In the end, though, Cancelo arrived at Barcelona and has already made a big impact.
The way that he has settled in within the team, just three weeks into his stint, makes one believe that he has been at Barça for much longer than that.
“My family and all my friends know that I have wanted to play here for a long time, it is a club that has always excited me because my idols played here,” Cancelo said.
“Now, I want to show people the player that I am, lately I haven’t been performing as well as I wanted to and I want to give my best to help this club get back to where it deserves to be.”
“I’m very happy to be here, I’ve really enjoyed these three games, I have team-mates who are helping me to adapt as quickly as possible, which is important. I’m playing with great players, which also makes everything very easy for me,” he later added.
Cancelo had enjoyed a hugely successful spell at Manchester City but a falling out with Pep Guardiola led to him being sent out to Bayern Munich on loan in January and now to Barcelona.
When asked if he ever felt that it was a risk to leave City for Barça, Cancelo replied: “Yes, it’s risky, but my life has always been a risk. I always like to take risks.
At the same time, he went on to thank Guardiola and his staff, and everyone at Manchester City, saying:
“I have to thank everyone at City, I’ve had the best moments of my career there so far, I had the chance to be in last year’s FIFA World XI, which was another dream for me. And that’s thanks to my teammates at City, the coach, Pep, and his staff, who are a very good group, very united and you can see that.”
Off to the perfect start. (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)
On the aforementioned attempt made by Xavi to sign him in January, Cancelo said that he was not aware of any such move, claiming:
“That conversation was a bit confusing, I don’t know if it’s true if Barça wanted me in January because it didn’t reach me, but well, Barcelona is a club I’ve always wanted to be at, it’s the club of my dreams after having played for my childhood team, which was Benfica.”
Just like with Joao Felix, there is no purchase option in Joao Cancelo’s loan deal either and the right-back was quizzed about his future beyond 30 June 2024, when the spell at Barcelona comes to an end.
“I want to perform here first. It’s not because of these two games, which the whole team did well, with two convincing victories. First to perform, to win titles with this club, to be an important player in the team, and then to talk about staying or not,” he said.
“It will depend on the club, on how well I perform. In the end they measure you by your performance, if you don’t perform, you don’t stay. If you perform, they will want you. So I want to perform, work and enjoy this club.”
When asked what would make him satisfied at the end of the season, Cancelo insisted that he wants to win La Liga and continue the trend of winning the league title in every country he has played, while he also wants to well in the UEFA Champions League.
“I want to be ambitious, but not that ambitious, I want to take it one game at a time. I dream of winning the league, which I’ve won in every country I’ve been in Europe except Spain, I’m also very excited about the Champions League,” he said.
“I think it’s possible with this team, but I want to take it step by step because football is a very strange sport, because there are times when you’re doing well and then you lose the game, but I’m very excited about winning titles with this club.”
Finally, Cancelo had a few words to say about his club and country teammate Joao Felix, who also joined Barcelona on loan on deadline day in the summer.
“Joao Felix is a natural talent. I think players like that don’t come out much, especially in Portugal. He is a talent to be polished, I think he is at the right club to reach that ambition where he wants to be,” Cancelo said.
“He is one more to help us, he has the same ambition as me, which is to win titles and help the team to the top as much as possible.”
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