Joao Cancelo claims celebration was a 'slap in the face' to critics

Joao Cancelo claims his celebration was a ‘slap in the face’ to his critics – as Barcelona star puts struggles behind him to score during Portugal’s 5-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Joao Cancelo found the back of the net during Portugal’s rampant 5-0 victory 
  • The Barcelona full-back has had a number of issues since leaving Man City 
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’

Portugal full-back Joao Cancelo has claimed that his celebration against Bosnia and Herzegovina was a ‘slap in the face’ to his critics.

Cancelo, 29, has endured a turbulent year since falling out with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola in a training ground bust-up, which Mail Sport revealed. 

The full-back is said to have reacted angrily after he learned that he would not be in the starting XI for City’s FA Cup clash with Arsenal January. 

He, consequently, joined Bayern Munich on loan during the winter window and helped the Bavarian side lift the Bundesliga title for 2022-23 – however they opted against triggering his buy-out clause. 

The Portugal international returned to City but was quickly shipped out again, with Barcelona landing a loan deal for the full-back on deadline day.  

Joao Cancelo celebrates after scoring Portugal’s fourth goal against Bosnia & Herzegovina

The Barcelona full-back claimed his celebration was a ‘slap in the face’ to his critics

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And now, after finally setting in at the Catalan side, Cancelo has issued a message to his ‘critics’ after scoring in Portugal’s 5-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

The full-back smashed an effort into the top corner of the goal to put the visitors four goals ahead and celebrate with a knee-slide before extending his arms out to the crowd.

Speaking after the match, Cancelo said: ‘My celebration was a slap in the face to those who criticize me. I was always professional. 

‘There are those who sell a bad image of me, but it is not true. I have a good heart and I do everything I can to help Portugal’.

Back in February, Cancelo fired back at claims he fell out with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City as a ‘complete lie’.

‘It’s a lie that I had a fight with Guardiola, a complete lie,’ he claimed to Mundo Deportivo. 

‘I didn’t feel important to the team in recent games. I spoke to the coach and he agreed. 

‘I, the coach and the club decided that I had to leave, that it was the best option for me. I like new opportunities and I have nothing against City.’

Cancelo denied that his relationship with Pep Guardiola led to his Man City exit in January

Cristiano Ronaldo embraced Portugal head coach Roberto Martinez after their 5-0 victory

Elsewhere on the night, Cristiano Ronaldo became the top scorer in world football for 2023 after scoring his 40th goal of the year in Portugal’s 5-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday evening.

The Portuguese superstar netted twice at the Bilino Polje stadium as Roberto Martinez’s side breezed through their European Championship qualifier.

Portugal had already qualified for next year’s tournament in Germany after beating Slovakia at the weekend, but showed no signs of letting up against their Balkans hosts.

38-year-old Ronaldo scored the first of his brace from the penalty spot after a handball was awarded and the record goalscorer made no mistake from 12-yards.


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