Joao Cancelo is thrilled that he decided to stick it out at Manchester City as he credited the club for elevating his level.
City confirmed on Tuesday that Cancelo had signed a two-year contract extension to keep him on board until the end of the 2026-27 season.
Cancelo joined from Juventus in 2019, though the Portugal international initially struggled to nail down a regular spot in City’s side.
Now, however, he is surely one of the first names on the team sheet. He was switched to left-back by Pep Guardiola last season and added an even more dangerous facet to City’s attacking play.
While still being able to play at right-back, Cancelo often has the freedom to drift inside from the flank and add more numbers to City’s midfield, with his passing range and eye for a blistering long-range shot useful from central positions.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 1, 2022
“It makes all the sense to extend my contract with Manchester City,” Cancelo told the club’s official website.
“I have learned how to become a more versatile player. I feel I can play in different positions now, not only right-back or left-back.
“I feel I can play in several positions on the pitch, and I think [it] is easier in this team because of the quality all the players have. It’s easier to play in this team than in any other team.”
Cancelo conceded, however, that it was not all plain sailing, with the 27-year-old revealing he initially regretted his decision to leave Juve for City.
“In my first months, I wasn’t extremely happy about my decision to join City,” he explained.
“I came from a club that I also like a lot, Juventus. I spoke to my girlfriend, and we agreed that I had to make the best out of myself to be able to play.
“As of December , January  onwards, I started playing regularly so that makes a player happier. We players always want to play.”
Cancelo made 33 appearances in all competitions in his first season at City, with that figure rising to 43 in 2020-21.
Having created one goal and scored another in 2019-20, Cancelo directly contributed to eight last season (five assists, three goals), while also providing three second assists (which Opta define as a pass or cross that is instrumental in creating a goal-scoring opportunity).
He already has eight assists to his name in 2021-22, and has scored three goals, while also helping City keep 12 clean sheets across the 30 matches he has featured in.
Cancelo has created 87 chances in the Premier League since making his debut, which ranks him eighth in terms of defenders, with Trent Alexander-Arnold (211) leading the way.
Among City players, only Kevin De Bruyne (759) has played more passes or crosses into the box than Cancelo (363) in the Premier League since the latter made his debut, while the Belgium playmaker is also the sole City team-mate to register more successful crosses from open play (39 compared to Cancelo’s 27).
Cancelo ranks second in City’s squad for tackles (151) and tackles won (92) and duels won (384), behind Rodri in every category.