Romano on Cancelo to Milan failure: “He only wanted Barcelona”

By Euan Burns -

Joao Cancelo failed to join AC Milan when he was leaving Manchester City thanks to the interest from Barcelona which he was not able to ignore.

According to Fabrizio Romano in his Daily Briefing column for CaughtOffside, there was a chance of Cancelo becoming a Milan player but Barcelona’s interest and the number of right-backs in the Milan squad meant the move did not get off of the ground.

Cancelo left Man City in slightly surprising circumstances in January 2023 and many clubs were linked with a move for the Portuguese winger, including Milan. He joined Bayern Munich on loan, and was then loaned to Barcelona in September 2023 for the current season.

Rafael Leao recently spoke to Romano about how he tried to persuade Cancelo to join him at Milan, despite Cancelo having previously played for Inter.

“I can say one thing… in the national team I was talking with Cancelo, because he played for Inter and he told me ‘Honestly I really like Milan, Milan is a nice club. When I used to play in the stadium against them I felt the supporters and when I was a kid I really liked the club’,” Leao said.

“I told him ‘Come!’ But he told me ‘it’s difficult’. He was at Manchester City and he told me that it was difficult. I tried! Our new era at Milan is about young players with talent so Cancelo is in the middle [of his career] and it was the perfect match.”

Romano has now explained some of the added context to this failed move, and it really stems from Milan’s existing squad and the interest from Barcelona.

The main issue was that once Barcelona became an option, that was where Cancelo wanted to go. His admiration for Milan was not enough, and Milan actually never opened talks with City because two right-backs were already in the squad.

“The reason it didn’t happen is because Cancelo only wanted to play for Barcelona, but also it was never a club to club negotiation. Leao spoke to Cancelo, but Milan never spoke to City also because they already had two right-backs,” Romano said.

“For Cancelo it was only Barca and he still hopes to stay at the club next season after joining them on loan from Man City this term.”

Tags AC Milan Barcelona Joao Cancelo

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