clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Marauding Joao Cancelo is the right-back Barcelona have needed for years


FC Barcelona v Celta de Vigo - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by David S.Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Thank the lord for Joao Cancelo!

In Barca’s hour of need, the loan signing - who will reportedly only cost a paltry €25m on a permanent deal - stood tall and helped win the game for the Catalans.

After 80 minutes, with the score at 2-0 to Celta, the idea that the hosts might get a goal let alone turn the game on its head seemed a forlorn hope.

Barcelona had been marginally better in the second half than the first, but against the low block that Rafa Benitez had employed, they struggled. As usual.

Much of that can be attributed to Xavi’s haphazard tactics and the former midfield legend certainly does need to get to grips with aspects of a match that require a little more thought than hoping that the ‘Barca way’ is enough.

FC Barcelona v Celta Vigo - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

On another night, Celta would’ve deservedly walked away with a victory and the three points, Barca’s bogey team doing it again.

However, it is to the players’ immense credit that, in the end, they were able to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

The last 10 minutes of Saturday night’s match suggests that there won’t be too many teams, if any, that are able to live with them when they’re really on song, and that has much to do with the hire of Cancelo and his compatriot Joao Felix.

On the night, the latter was quieter than he has been in his first few games and yet still provided the exquisite assist to Robert Lewandowski which gave Barca a glimmer. Nothing more.

Step forward Joao Cancelo for the second assist to the Polish hit man who is lethal when provided with the right service.

The Portuguese eased effortlessly into space, and had the wherewithal to pull the ball back rather than fire it across goal, putting it on a plate for the centre-forward.

FC Barcelona v Celta Vigo - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

His run into the box for the winner was, dare I say it, Alves-esque. The timing was superb, the finish emphatic and made possible by Gavi’s pinpoint cross.

The player still has a lot to prove of course. Why don’t Man City want him and why didn’t Bayern take up their option on him? Does he come with baggage?

Those are all questions for another time because at this precise moment Joao Cancelo is heaven sent for Xavi Hernandez.

The balance he gives to the defence alone means his is a price worth paying. He may be 30 next year but he has all of the attributes needed to succeed in the position and Barca really can’t be looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Ask yourself... do Barca look a more complete proposition with Cancelo stationed on the right side of defence?

We all know the answer...

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Barca Blaugranes Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Barca news from Barca Blaugranes