Guardiola admits no De Bruyne is blow for Man City
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Joao Cancelo has opened up on the reported fall-out with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola that led to his sudden January exit. His Etihad Stadium departure at the end of January seemingly came out of nowhere, but he has joined the Catalan coach in defusing speculation of a row.
Cancelo made 154 appearances for Man City over three-and-a-half years at the club, enjoying relentless success under Guardiola.
But he fell out of favour after the World Cup, dropping behind Nathan Ake and teenager Rico Lewis in the pecking order.
He became unsettled and jumped at the chance to join Bayern as the deadline loomed – a bold decision by Guardiola amid a closely-fought Premier League title race with Arsenal.
Many claimed it stemmed from a training ground bust-up between the two, which left Guardiola with no choice but to remove him from the picture.
But Cancelo has placed his exit down to his desire to play games, which the City boss believed he didn’t deserve due to his slumped form this season.
He told O Jogo: “As I already said, he found a way to play after the World Cup, in which he started playing with a full-back more inside, where I also played, and he liked what he saw with Rico and Nathan.
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“I respected his decision because I have to, and this is a team of great footballers. But I think a player is always a bit selfish. Any player wants to feel important and wants to play, and anyone who says otherwise is lying.
“A competitive player, like me, who aspires to win titles and just wants to play. It’s like Pep said, I need to play to be happy. It’s not a question of devaluing my teammates because others are on the bench to play.
“But I thought I deserved to play, and he didn’t. So we talked, it was a conversation, not a discussion, and we decided that the best thing would be for me to leave this [January] market.
“An opportunity I couldn’t refuse. But I’m very grateful to City and the fans. I’m a passionate player, I was robbed one day, and I played against Arsenal the next.
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“Some people seem to forget that and give the idea that I wanted to forcefully leave City. It was by mutual agreement. If City didn’t want to, they wouldn’t let me leave because I had a contract.
“I’m very professional. I’ve always given my face to all the clubs. I have a difficult personality, yes, but I never have, at any time, disrespected teammates or coaches.”
Cancelo’s desire for game time has been fed at Bayern, making five appearances, including four starts, since joining the Bundesliga giants.
The Portuguese star isn’t expected to return to City in the summer, with a stay in Bavaria his likeliest destination.
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