Joao Cancelo’s magical pass to Raheem Sterling kickstarted Manchester City’s big win over Everton.
The game was approaching half-time with City dominant but still only drawing when Cancelo picked the ball up about 35 yards from the Everton goal and arced a beautiful pass over the Toffees defence, finding the brilliant run of Raheem Sterling who finished superbly.
The plaudits flowed at half-time, with Robbie Keane saying “that’s the pass of the season for me, you’re not going to see a better pass all season.” And he wasn’t alone in his admiration for the ball.
Jamie Redknapp extolled the virtues of the pass, saying “that’s what young kids should practice,” then comparing Cancelo’s ability to play the ball to two of the century’s best midfielders; “Scholes used to be brilliant at it, Modric. All great players do that, an amazing pass.”
Cancelo is seemingly improving every time he steps on the field, and while Guardiola has to be happy he is also not about to let his brilliant full-back get complacent.
Speaking before the match, Guardiola said: “right now [Cancelo]’s playing like Philipp [Lahm] played at Bayern when we were together,” comparing his full-back to the gallant German who starred while Guardiola was in Munich. “In that position, the full-back a little bit inside, not just overlaps, Philipp is the best player I have ever seen in my entire life.”
The data visualisation doesn't do it much justice. 😅 pic.twitter.com/aPpZlNvJhS
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) November 21, 2021
So it’s clear that Guardiola is setting a high bar for Cancelo to clear, but it’s only that he thinks Cancelo can reach. “But Joao, like Dani Alves for example, could play in that position. He definitely has the quality.”
That’s the gauntlet thrown down to Joao Cancelo, then. As amazing as he was against Everton and as good as he’s been all season, Pep Guardiola is challenging him to be even better, and that should scare opponents.