- Left Man City on an initial loan agreement
- Started brightly at the Allianz Arena
- Has quickly fallen out of favour
WHAT HAPPENED? The versatile Portugal international found himself slipping down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium under Pep Guardiola prior to making a January move – although any suggestion of a falling out being suffered there has been rubbished. Cancelo made an impressive impact in Germany, registering an assist on his debut and starting three successive games, but he has now fallen out of favour in Julian Nagelsmann’s plans – leading to him posting a cryptic “I do my best and let God do the rest” message on social media.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Cancelo’s loan deal at the Allianz Arena includes a €70 million (£62m/$75m) purchase option, but there appears to be little chance of that being taken up at present. He has been forced to fill a substitute role since being hooked at half-time in a Champions League last-16 encounter with Paris Saint-Germain on February 14. He has figured off the bench on two occasions since then, but saw no game time at all in Bayern's 2-1 victory over Stuttgart on Saturday.
WHAT THEY SAID: Nagelsmann said of handing Benjamin Pavard minutes against his former employers at Stuttgart despite the Frenchman being banned for a midweek return date with PSG: “It was nothing against Cancelo, more for Benji.” Bayern’s boss has also claimed that Cancelo is reacting “well” to losing his starting berth, adding: “Of course Joao still has some catching up to do in terms of processes. It's a different style of play than Pep had at City. He needs a little more time and he'll get it. Then he'll be able to play very well again.”
WHY IS CANCELO ON THE BENCH AT BAYERN? Nagelsmann previously referred to Cancelo as being a “joker” option for Bayern, as he is capable of operating in both full-back positions and drifting into midfield, but Kingsley Coman has been offered opportunities of late to prove that he can do likewise while Alphonso Davies has once again become the favoured option to fill a berth on the left flank. There is now no room for Cancelo, with Nagelsmann having ruled out the prospect of fielding the 28-year-old in a back three.
IN THREE PHOTOS:GettyGettyGetty Images
WHAT'S NEXT: Josip Stanisic, who is considered to be more defensively sound than Cancelo, has operated at the back against Stuttgart and Union Berlin – with Coman slotted in ahead of him down the right – and that system will likely be favoured again when Bayern play host to Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Co on Wednesday.