The full-back has been in superb form for Manchester City this season and has cemented his place as first-choice left-back.
Manchester City defender Joao Cancelo admits he was shocked to hear Pep Guardiola compare him to Philipp Lahm earlier this season.
The versatile defender has been in superb form for City in recent months and has firmly established himself as one of the standout stars in Guardiola’s side. Having struggled to locate a top-class left-back since being appointed City boss in 2016, Guardiola now has arguably the best left-sided full-back in Europe at his disposal.
Cancelo, despite being primarily a right-back by trade, has been favoured on the left-hand side of the defence throughout the season. From there, he has managed to pose an attacking threat as well as using his pace and defensive nous to snuff out opposition attacks.
The 27-year-old has also showcased his ability to step into midfield at times. While Guardiola is yet to start Cancelo in a central-midfield role, his time with Bayern Munich suggests it could be an avenue he looks to explore.
Former Bayern captain Lahm also provided Guardiola with a multitude of options during his time in charge of the German giants. The 2014 World Cup-winning captain would often play in midfield and would look equally as comfortable there as when played in his natural position
Guardiola believes Cancelo is now just as good as Lahm was, suggesting he could be used in a more advanced role in the future. Speaking earlier this season, the City boss said: “Right now, Joao is playing like Philipp at Bayern Munich when we were together. Lahm was the best player I saw in my life moving inside from full-back close to the holding midfield player.
“Joao has the quality to do that. His natural position is on the right but he can play both sides, no problem. He can play perfectly with either foot.”
It’s a compliment the Portuguese star knows shouldn’t be taken lightly. “Wow, I never saw that sort of praise coming!” Cancelo said during an interview with FourFourTwo.
“I talk to Ilkay Gundogan and others who’ve worked with Lahm, and they all say he was extraordinary and made football look easy. Besides Dani Alves, Cafu and Maicon, Lahm is one of the greatest right-backs of all time.”