Portuguese star repaying Xavi’s faith with his best career start at Barcelona

Barcelona fullback Joao Cancelo
Photo by David S.Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

The latest FC Barcelona right-back, Joao Cancelo, has had a very varied career. He arrived at Barcelona aged 29 years and has already played in four top European leagues, playing for some of the best clubs in Europe.

The Portuguese international started his career with Benfica before moving to Spain with Valencia. Cancelo played the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons in Italy, one with Inter Milan and the second with Juventus, before moving to the Premier League with Manchester City in 2019.

He was an integral part of Pep Guardiola’s squad during his time at City, but eventually fell out with the coach and first joined Bayern Munich on loan in January 2023 before coming on another loan to Barcelona, with whom he is currently playing.

Flying start at Barcelona

As SPORT reports, of all the teams that he has played, he has started in the best way with Barcelona. Having scored two goals with Barcelona, he has already surpassed his record with Bayern, Juventus, and Inter Milan.

With current pace, contributing to a goal every 95 minutes, he will soon beat his record with Valencia, where he scored four goals and gave eight assists. His nine goals and twenty-two assists at Manchester City would need some time to be bested, though.

Barcelona and Cancelo fit each other like a glove, and it was the desire of Cancelo to play at Barcelona, as he explained in his presentation. However, he is still owned by Manchester City, and Barcelona will have to renegotiate with the Manchester Club, who are reported to be open to selling the defender for around €25 million.

Xavi’s wanted Cancelo’s experience

While his start at Barcelona has been highly encouraging, he was not the only candidate for the Catalans to strengthen their right flank during the summer. The new Sporting Director at Barcelona, Deco, pushed for the youngster Ivan Fresneda for this position. However, Xavi wanted the experience of Cancelo and ultimately both officials agreed to bet on the Portuguese international.

After getting his man, Xavi has given Cancelo complete freedom on the attacking end. Xavi and his staff have been particularly impressed by his fitness, as the player is able to play full ninety minutes at an amazing pace. This was clear in the recent two games as he scored in the 81st minute against Betis and in the 89th minute against Celta.

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