Cancelo has been a key player for City over the last couple of years but started just three of 10 matches since the World Cup as he fell out of favour. As Guardiola demanded full effort from everyone even if they weren’t playing, Cancelo’s inability to hide his disappointment at not playing did not help him get back into the team.
It still came as a surprise to many to see Cancelo depart on deadline day, but the decision was taken to allow the player to leave and go to Bayern Munich on loan. The German side have an option to sign the player – who bagged an assist on his debut – at the end of the season for £61.6million.
Asked about Cancelo’s exit at a press conference on Friday, Guardiola did not rule out the player returning next season as he paid tribute to his quality. But he accepted that Cancelo wanted to leave, and preferred to let him go rather than keep an unhappy player as he looks to continue with his different style of football.
“First I wish him the very best in his four months [on loan]. Next season I don’t know what happens,” Guardiola said.
“An incredible figure in the last two leagues we won. After the World Cup, we make a pre-season and decided to play, in some patterns different. I like what I watch. I give more time to other players.
“His personality, mine, he loves to play. He trains the best, the situation he doesn’t play much. In the last years one of the players with more minutes.
“He needs to play to be happy, we decide to let him go to Munich. He wants to play every single game and hopefully he can in Munich.”
Pressed further on the defender, Guardiola replied: “Listen if Bayern want Joao it’s because he’s a beyond exceptional player, so I’m not going to say one bad word about him. His work ethic, passion, skills. Everyone knows it.
“It happened one or two days before the transfer window. I’m really happy with the squad, always have been. I’m not sure what’s best to have, one in the bank or be criticised to spend more.
“We can handle the situation. I trust a lot in the players we have. If not I’d say to my bosses ‘I think we should do this’.”
Asked if City considered signing a replacement in January, he replied: “Yeah we talk, but it took three minutes. I said ‘do you have something’, Txiki said no. I said wait. We could go to the market and pay huge amount of money. I prefer a few months until the end of the season we can do it without. In the summer we see.”
Despite his departure, Cancelo insisted on social media his future is by no means finalised, as he stated: “The video on Instagram may sound like a farewell but it wasn’t meant that way. We have to see what these five months bring.
“I want to be here with a clear head. We will then talk again at the end of the season but I’m still under contract to Manchester City.”
“I don’t see it as a final departure from the club,” he added. “I’ve not had much game time in the past few weeks – and that influenced my decision. It has nothing to do with my relationship with Pep.”
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