Joao Cancelo unaffected by Barcelona “toxicity” – “I’ve been through worse times in my personal life”

Being one of the biggest clubs in the world, there is always plenty of scrutiny on Barcelona, whether that be from fans or the media. This has been under the microscope more than usual in recent months, following criticism from head coach Xavi Hernandez, who cited it as a major reason for him stepping down at the end of this season.

One player that hasn’t shown any signs of wilting under the pressure of being at Barcelona is Joao Cancelo. The on-loan Manchester City defender has adapted to life at Catalonia seamlessly, and he revealed to A Bola (via MD) why he has been unaffected by the strong media scrutiny that comes with playing for the Blaugrana.

“I have a very strong mentality, especially because on a personal level I’ve been through a lot and I’ve always looked at life in a positive way. I’ve been through worse times in my personal life than in my sporting life. Pressure affects some more than others. It doesn’t affect me much because I created a barrier.

“From the moment I lost my mother, I was forced to grow up much faster, to be much more mature, to be the leader of my family. Not everyone is like that. Barcelona is a difficult club, but it’s the club of my career that I enjoy the most, I always wanted to be here.”

On Xavi’s departure, many have noted that Barcelona have significantly improved since the announcement came in January – this has caused some to suggest that the players have been “psychologically liberated”. However, Cancelo doesn’t believe that it is as simple as that.

“I don’t see it that way, especially because the coach has always been good with us. I think if he’s not the one who loves the club the most in our team, he’ll be one of the ones who loves it the most. He’s a Barcelona legend and sometimes people forget what he did to be here. He faced the challenge of the club when it was not at the best economic level, in terms of players, and that is to be commended. It’s not just when you win that you have to give value. As a player I valued him a lot and, as I have the pleasure of having him as a coach, I appreciate him even more. Xavi gave us that relay, because he himself wanted to sacrifice himself so that the team would let loose more.”

Cancelo is set to leave Barcelona at the same time as Xavi in the summer, although he hopes to stay for at least one more season. This will be one of the key areas focused on during the upcoming transfer window.


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