Rio Ferdinand and Gary Lineker picked out one Manchester City star for special praise after Pep Guardiola’s side cruised to a 2-0 victory over Borussia Monchengladbach.
Goals by Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus put City firmly in control of their Champions League last-16 tie with the Bundesliga side.
But it was left-back Joao Cancelo who stole the show at the Puskas Arena, as he played a key role both goals – assisting the first and creating the second – and helped his side keep a clean sheet.
Cancelo operated as a conventional full-back when City did not have the ball, but shifted inside when his side had possession to produce a masterful display from midfield.
Lineker was hugely impressed by the Portuguese’s performance and told BT Sport : “I don’t think there’s any question who the star man was this evening.
“He made both goals, won the man-of-the-match trophy and thoroughly merited it.”
“100 per cent,” said Rio Ferdinand as he chimed in. “We spoke about his role in this team and how important he is, and the way that he’s been able to have that freedom.
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“He’s playing as a full-back but it’s not the conventional full-back. He ends up coming into the centre of the pitch.
“His position once they get good possession is inside the pitch, almost as a pivot. When they have the ball it’s three at the back with two boys in front of them and he’s one of the boys.
“He’s even into the No.10 position at times and he becomes like a playmaker – it’s crazy to see. And this is all obviously Pep [Guardiola] and him seeing the game a different way.”
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Continuing his lavish praise of Cancelo, Ferdinand added: “What he’s got as well is the mobility, how quick he is. He’s sharp and aggressive, with and without the ball.
“It’s a fantastic new way of seeing a full-back play.”
Silva latched on to two Cancelo crosses to score the first goal and nod across the six-yard box to assist Jesus’ strike.
The two Portugal internationals know each other well from their time playing together for Benfica, as well as for the national team.
“Joao is an amazing player,” Silva told BT Sport . “I played with him seven years at Benfica, I know him very well and the connection is good. His passing is quality and overall he’s doing a great season.”
City boss Guardiola also praised Cancelo’s performance, saying: “He gives us something special to our process to play.”
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