Joao Cancelo was hungry for minutes and prominence. After a pre-season in which he competed very little, the Portuguese full-back has been absolutely unquestionable since his arrival. After coming on as a substitute on his debut in Pamplona, he has started all five of his subsequent games for FC Barcelona.
Everything seemed to indicate that, after a significant load of minutes and with Porto on the horizon, he could rotate for the first time on Friday against Sevilla. He had played everything after the international break, where he had already played one game as a starter and another in which he played more than half an hour for Roberto Martinez's Portugal.
There had been speculation about who could take his place at right-back. Koundé or Sergi Roberto. But the truth is that not only did he start, but he also played another complete game. As SPORT has learned, the technical staff has a tool to measure various indices of the players.
One of the components that is monitored is fatigue. When there is a high volume, a red light appears, advising rest. Because the risk of injury increases, basically. In Joao's case, the light was green and did not indicate high levels of fatigue.
As we said, he is a crucial figure in Xavi's team. And he will be even more so as he accumulates training sessions and learns the team's 'automatic' moves. We have yet to see him in one of his specialities, playing on the left and linking up inside. And looking for his trademark crosses from the outside. Those moments will come and go. For now, two goals and an assist.
He is expected to start again against Porto in the Champions League in a very important match for Barca's aspirations of finishing first in the group. We will see against Granada next Sunday if his time comes for a rest.
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