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Has Animosity Split Joao Cancelo From Manchester City?

Portugal Defender Joins Bayern on Loan

FC Bayern München Unveil New Signing Joao Cancelo Photo by S. Mellar/FC Bayern via Getty Images

Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo has completed what appears to be an acrimonious split from Manchester City to Bayern Munich.

The Portugal defender, who joined the blues from Juventus in 2019, joins the German giants, on loan, with Bayern having the option to buy for around £61.5m at the end of the season.

However, the full-back has stated this isn’t a ‘final departure’ from Manchester and will wait and see what happens in five months. And Cancelo stated it was lack of playing time that has led to him moving to Germany until the end of the season and not, as some have believed, a rift between him and manager Pep Guardiola. “There was speculation that my relationship with Pep was not the best, but the fact is I wanted to play more.

“I wanted to start this new adventure as soon as possible. I enjoyed my time at City and I am still under contract with the club, so I don’t see it as a final departure.”

Speculation has been rife that all has not been well between Cancelo and Guardiola, with some pointing to his lack of form following the World Cup. He has made just three starts since returning from Qatar and has been an unused substitute in five of City’s ten matches from December. Cancelo was also withdrawn at half-time during City’s 1-0 win at Chelsea at the turn of the year.

Although Cancelo states that it was the playing time that was the issue, the City statement indicates otherwise. A 51-word statement that is straight to the point is what the blues have put out. Compare this to the almost 800-word piece written when Raheem Sterling left the club in the summer, and you can see there’s clearly something has gone on behind the scenes. Admittedly, Sterling’s service had been longer, but the departure of a first-team player has been announced like a youth player.

It is rumoured that Cancelo and Guardiola were involved in a training ground bust-up, which hasn’t been confirmed by either club or player, but it may have resulted in the defender demanding more playing time than Guardiola was prepared to give. Further rumours indicate that Guardiola was unhappy with Cancelo’s attitude at losing his place and was happy for him to leave.

With the emergence of Rico Lewis and the excellent form of Nathan Ake, there was always someone going to be left out. And that someone appears to be Cancelo who, rather than warming up in the recent match against Wolves, remained on the bench for long periods of the game.

It remains to be seen if Cancelo, who signed for the blues from Juventus in 2019, will wear the blue of City again, but the chances are that the Portuguese defender may have played his last game at the Etihad Stadium.