Belfast Telegraph

Joao Cancelo reveals ambition to dislodge Kyle Walker from City backline

The Portuguese has signed a six-year contract at the Etihad.

Joao Cancelo has personal ambitions to fulfil at the Etihad (David Charlesworth/PA)
Joao Cancelo has personal ambitions to fulfil at the Etihad (David Charlesworth/PA)

By David Charlesworth, PA

New arrival Joao Cancelo is relishing the challenge of attempting to oust Kyle Walker from the right-back berth at Manchester City.

Cancelo is expected to provide stiff competition to the England defender after joining the Premier League champions from Juventus on Wednesday in a deal that saw Danilo head in the opposite direction.

Figures released by Juve indicate City paid 28.6million euros (£26.4m) to complete the transfer for the Portuguese, who put pen to paper on a six-year contract.

The 25-year-old, who can also operate on the left side of defence, said via a translator at his unveiling: “I’m aware that Kyle Walker is one of the best players, a great player.

“But I always love challenges and bringing myself to the limit so I’m going to compete with him and try to get my place in the starting XI.

“I always have the dream to be the best right-back and the best player in my position, I think only playing with the best can you achieve that and Manchester City has the best players, it is a great place to develop.

“At the end of the day it will be up to the manager to choose one or the other. But I can promise I will work hard to try to compete as best as I can.”

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Defender Cancelo is City’s third signing of the summer (David Charlesworth/PA)

Cancelo, who was an unused squad member for Portugal as they toasted Nations League glory in June, is City’s third acquisition of the summer following the arrivals of Angelino and Rodri.

This will be Cancelo’s fourth club in as many seasons though he believes he will be at the Etihad Stadium for the long haul and admitted manager Pep Guardiola was a major factor in him signing for the club.

He said: “There are a lot of young players in the squad, for the present and the future as well, so I took the risk to join Manchester City. The Premier League is a competition that’s always fascinated me and one I’ve always liked.

“Pep Guardiola was also a big reason for me to join. I’ve always admired him and the way he plays since he started at Barcelona.

“It’s not by chance that Manchester City have won the last two Premier Leagues and Manchester City won all the domestic trophies in England last season.

“I love his style of play, his character, he’s very detail orientated. Everyone talks amazing about him so I’ll accept the challenge and hopefully he will make me a better player.”

Cancelo spent a little over a year at Juve, where he signed from Valencia for £35m, but revealed he formed a close bond with compatriot Cristiano Ronaldo.

He said: “I have a friend at Juventus in Cristiano Ronaldo, he helped me a lot while I was there, both personally and on the pitch.

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Cristiano Ronaldo is a close friend and international team-mate of Cancelo (Tim Goode/PA)

“He’s an extraordinary person and for me he’s the best. We stay in touch, we talk, we are good friends but I thought at the time the best for me was to join Manchester City.”

Cancelo revealed the death of his mother in a car accident six years ago is a further motivation, adding: “When I lost her I was determined to try to make my dream come true.

“In the last four years I’ve been at four different clubs and always improving. I’m always fighting to be the best I can and I think I can achieve this here.”

PA

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