Although Joao Cancelo has gone through a run of matches without starting for Bayern Munich, he made a blistering start to life with the Rekordmeister after getting loaned out by Manchester City during the winter transfer window. He provided two assists in each of his first two matches for Bayern and just recently opened his scoring account for Die Roten with a goal in last weekend’s 5-3 win over Bavarian rivals FC Augsburg. He’s been such a positive addition to Bayern’s squad and he possesses the necessary experience to help them continue to push across all three fronts in search of another treble.
Julian Nagelsmann’s recent preference to use a back three system has left Cancelo out of the starting lineup several times in recent weeks, and a player of the Portuguese’s caliber is never too thrilled to spend time on the bench. He’s one to make his frustration felt, but Nagelsmann connected with the defender in a unique way, as the two together discussed having both lost a parent at a young age. “He has a similar personal situation as I had. So I tried to explain to him how to deal with it and how I dealt with it,” Nagelsmann explained (Sport1). Cancelo lost his mother to a car accident at 18 years of age and Nagelsmann lost a parent at the age of 20.
Prominent Portuguese journalist Manuel Pereira, who has a close relationship with Cancelo, recently did an interview with Sport1 where he spoke about how he feels Cancelo still carries the weight of his mother’s death around with him, both on and off the pitch. He wears his heart on his sleeve on the football pitch, and it’s an open secret that there was a bit of a falling out with Pep Guardiola at Man City due to a lack of minutes, so there’s perhaps always a bit of an element of playing with a chip on his shoulder.
“Joao still carries his mother’s death around with him to this day. That will always accompany him. He feels punished by life. He was still very young back then (when his mother passed), but you could tell that his pride was hurt and he felt unfairly treated when he wasn’t playing. That hasn’t changed over the years. He’s just like that,” Pereira explained.
For those that might not know about Cancelo’s loss at a young age, his actions could sometimes come off as immature or too reactionary, but Pereira feels that, like Nagelsmann, there should always be a healthy level of understanding for what he went through. “You shouldn’t condemn or attack him for that, you have to show him understanding and support. Unfortunately, he was incredibly unlucky and was shaped by this tragic event. As a coach, you have to take that into account and talk to him a lot. This helps. If you are patient with him, give him chances, and communicate with him a lot, he will repay this with strong performances and give FC Bayern a lot of joy,” Pereira affirmed.