"You Have a Diamond in Your Hands" - Pep Guardiola Compares Man City Star to Bayern Munich and Barcelona Legends
In European football this season, there have not been many players who have rivalled Manchester City's Joao Cancelo for contributions at both ends of the pitch.
The Portugal international has been in excellent form in the left-back role for Manchester City, establishing himself as one of the Premier League's most creative talents.
Joao Cancelo currently has three assists to his name in the Premier League, adding to the two goals and three assists in the UEFA Champions League so far this campaign.
It was this form that prompted Pep Guardiola to be asked, ahead of Manchester City's 3-0 victory against Everton on Sunday afternoon, whether Cancelo can be as good as Bayern Munich icon Philip Lahm.
Lahm, who Pep Guardiola managed during his time with the Bundesliga giants, is widely regarded as one of the greatest full-backs in football history.
Pep Guardiola responded, “[Joao Cancelo] can use both legs perfectly. His natural position is right but he is adapting very well on the left now."
“When one player arrives from another culture, he needs time to adapt, even myself needed time. The way we wanted to play, he needed time. Sometimes you are patient, sometimes not."
Guardiola continued, “But Joao since he arrived he played good but he has one huge quality - he loves playing football! When you find a player like that, like Riyad [Mahrez], Phil [Foden] is like this - you have a diamond in your hands."
“Most players like football but these three players I mentioned are like little boys playing in the street or in school. This is great. That is why Joao is consistent in his game."
The Catalan then directly addressed the comparison to Philip Lahm, also choosing to highlight Kyle Walker's solid form this season.
Pep Guardiola added, “Like now he plays like Philip [Lahm] did in Bayern when we were together."
“Philipp Lahm is the best player I’ve ever seen in my entire life at being a full-back moving inside."
“But Joao, like Dani Alves has the quality. Kyle is always improving a lot. Some of his games recently are the best he’s played for us."
“Kyle is improving a lot and that's why I am very pleased with Kyle and what he is doing.”
Joao Cancelo's assist for Raheem Sterling's opener against Everton will be one of the finest passes you'll see all season, and only reinforced PGuardiola's praise.
You can follow us for live updates here: @City_Xtra