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‘I’m going to play, and not this kid!’ – Journalist reveals major Manchester City fall-out involving Pep Guardiola



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Journalist and biographer Marti Perarnau has detailed the fall-out at Manchester City that ultimately led to the exit of Joao Cancelo from the Etihad Stadium last January.

The Portugal international joined Bayern Munich on an initial six-month loan deal during the last January transfer window, having fallen out of favour under Pep Guardiola after returning from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

The Catalan City boss opted for Rico Lewis in an increasing number of high-profile competitive fixtures, whilst Kyle Walker remained firmly in the manager’s plans despite his age and perceived downward slope in his top-level professional career.

Rumours circulated concerning the reasons behind Joao Cancelo’s fall-out at the club, with some speculating a training ground bust-up involving the former Juventus and Inter man, however a new report has highlighted the truth behind the situation.

Speaking during a recent conversation with Spanish media outlet Cadena SER, as translated and relayed by Football Espana, Marti Perarnau has offered details from the period that led to Joao Cancelo’s Manchester City departure that appears to be beyond repair.

“When (Joao) Cancelo feels handsome, he feels very handsome and he is very handsome, for example yesterday (during FC Barcelona’s 2-1 victory against FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League),” Perarnau explained.

He continued, “When Cancelo feels ugly, and when I say ugly I mean it metaphorically, for whatever reason, the collapse is very large.”

Perarnau went on to apply the description to Cancelo’s Manchester City fall-out, that led to a shock transfer to Bayern Munich during the 2023 January transfer window, joining the Bundesliga side on an initial six-month loan deal.

However, it appears as though the Portugal international’s exit was also down to the emergence of Rico Lewis in Pep Guardiola’s first-team squad, with the now-England international firmly establishing himself as a reliable option in the Catalan’s set-up.

“There was a phenomenon this beginning of the year which was the appearance of Rico Lewis, at a time when Cancelo returned from the World Cup in a very poor state of form and Kyle Walker returned injured,” he explained.

“Pep Guardiola opted for the young 18-year-old youth player over two highly experienced players; but (Rico) Lewis did not shrink from the opportunity and soon earned a place on the right wing of the ‘Citizens’.

“The only solution was to put a 17-year-old player to play against Chelsea, Liverpool and against everyone. The kid is starting to put in extraordinary performances and is going to win the job, but Cancelo doesn’t want to accept that.”

Perarnau closed, as per Football Espana, “He demanded to play and says ‘I’m Cancelo and I’m going to play, and not this kid’.”

Since Rico Lewis’ emergence in the Premier League champions’ first-team squad, the teenager has certainly not looked back, and not only gone on to win a historic Treble alongside his Manchester City teammates, but also secure his first cap for the England international squad.

Such is Lewis’ status within the Manchester City squad now that there are serious conversations being had about whether he could win himself a place at next summer’s European Championships in Germany.