Manchester City fans have already waved goodbye to Joao Cancelo twice this year after Pep Guardiola loaned him to Bayern Munich in January, and now Barcelona.
The Portugal international was sent to the Camp Nou on transfer deadline day – where he will spend the 2023/24 campaign on loan – and he got off to the perfect start on his full debut.
What’s the story?
Well – as detailed by the Guardian – Pep Guardiola had issues with the Portuguese star’s attitude at the Etihad Stadium, although nobody can argue that he is not an extremely talented footballer.
Cancelo enjoyed a memorable full debut for Barcelona as Xavi’s side recorded a 5-0 win over Real Betis in La Liga on Saturday, with WhoScored handing him the Man of the Match award after he earned a 9.1 match rating.
Firstly, the 29-year-old won the ball back high up the pitch with a superb tackle, which led to Joao Felix opening the scoring in the 25th minute.
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Cancelo then got on the scoresheet himself with a tremendous strike in the 81st minute to round off the 5-0 win, taking Juan Miranda inside then out with a tidy chop, before smashing a low strike into the bottom left corner.
In between his role for the first goal and netting the fifth himself, Cancelo also embarrassed Real Betis No.17 Rodri with a brilliant nutmeg.
WhoScored shows that the Manchester City loanee also completed six successful dribbles – more than anyone else on the pitch – while only Gavi registered more than his four tackles for Barcelona.
Joao Cancelo performance is good news for Manchester City
It seems unlikely that Cancelo will play again under Guardiola, so a permanent sale in 2024 looks set to happen.
Therefore, the fact he is clearly in the mood to have a memorable campaign bodes well for Manchester City, as it means his value should be high when the 2024 summer window comes around.
If Cancelo keeps playing at this level, Manchester City could even have a bidding war on their hands for the Barreiro-born maestro next year.