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HomePremier LeagueJoao Cancelo breaks silence on heartbreaking reason for changing Man City shirt...

Joao Cancelo breaks silence on heartbreaking reason for changing Man City shirt number

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Raheem Sterling used to wear the No. 7 shirt for Manchester City, but it became vacant after he left for Chelsea, and Joao Cancelo took it for deeply personal reasons.

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Joao Cancelo breaks silence on heartbreaking reason for changing Man City shirt number

Joao Cancelo has revealed that he is now wearing the No. 7 jersey for Manchester City in memory of his mother, who was tragically killed in a car accident nine years ago.

Cancelo was a teenager rising through the ranks at Benfica when his mother, Filomena, was killed in a car accident on the A3 highway in January 2013.

She’d just dropped her husband, Joseph, off at Lisbon Airport and was driving back home with Joao and his brother Pedro dozing in the backseat.

The two boys were injured, but their mother died instantly, and Cancelo asked City if he could wear the shirt worn by Raheem Sterling when he moved to Chelsea.

Cancelo explained: “Seven was my mum’s favourite number and it was the day she was born: 7 February. I decided to pick that number because it is meaningful for me and for my mum. I hope I can represent her with this number as she is one of the most important people in my life.”

Cancelo almost gave up on his dream of becoming a footballer after his mother died. 

His father gradually coaxed him back into the game, but he says a prayer to his mother every time he steps onto the field. Cancelo, 28, moved from Benfica to Villarreal before joining Juventus.

He joined City in 2019 in a deal in which the Blues paid £27.4 million and sent Danilo to Juventus as part of the deal. 

The Portuguese international has emerged as one of Pep Guardiola’s most inventive players, slotting in at left-back despite being naturally right-footed, but with the ability to play in midfield.

Cancelo said: “I always try to adapt to every position the manager puts me in and give my best for the team. I think with the number of quality players we have in our squad, it makes it easier to adapt to any position on the pitch. 

“It depends on the game. Some games he [Guardiola] asks me to play more inside, other games more outside. It depends on how the opponents press.

“After my initial six months, I think I have had a very good performance in the team. That is up to my dedication, of course, but also thanks to the manager and my team-mates, who believed in me. I’m very grateful to them. With the number of talented players we have in our squad, it’s easier to show your best football.”

City have started their title defense with consecutive victories and will face Newcastle at St James’ Park. After losing 3-1 to Liverpool in the Community Shield, Cancelo believes the champions found the right response.

And he has praised Guardiola for his belief in his players and the way he develops them both individually and collectively.

Cancelo said: “One of the best things about this team is that we always react well after a defeat. You see a winner not only when you win, but also when you lose. The way you react is what makes this team greater.

“He [Guardiola] is obviously a key factor in this team. He gives us the coordinates and we follow him. We believe in him and we believe in the way he sees football. Expectations are always high for this team because of the quality we have in the squad. We want to win all the trophies we play for. We always try to give the best of ourselves, knowing that the Premier League is always a difficult competition to win, but we are going to try to win it again.”

Joao Cancelo breaks silence on heartbreaking reason for changing Man City shirt number

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