Cancelo: People sent death wishes for my family after UCL loss

João Cancelo has revealed the extent of the social media abuse he received following Barcelona‘s Champions League elimination at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain in midweek, including comments wishing death upon his family.

Barça led 3-2 from the first leg in Paris but lost 4-1 on Tuesday as they exited the competition at the quarterfinal stage.

“People say all sorts,” Cancelo said in an interview with ESPN ahead of Sunday’s trip to Real Madrid in LaLiga.

“There are comments on Instagram wishing death upon my daughter who’s not even been born yet. They would not say it to me face, because we would have a problem, but in the comments they write what they want.

“They’re offensive to my partner, my daughter, our unborn baby. It’s a cruel world and you have to know how to live with it. I know how to, but I just don’t know what to say anymore.

“Wishing death upon a baby is really serious. People don’t think about the person behind the footballer they see on the television. We are humans, too. We are just the same.”

Cancelo, 29, was one of the players singled out for criticism after Barça lost to PSG because it was his foul on Ousmane Dembélé that led to the French side’s third goal on the night via a penalty.

The Portugal international also responded to comments made by former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who said Cancelo, was “silly, naive and like an inexperienced young player in panic station mode.”

“Ferdinand was a great player, but I am sure he made mistakes as well,” Cancelo added. “We all do. But of course, it’s his job, he’s an analyst and he has the right to say what he thinks.

“I accept it, it’s his opinion. Maybe the way I gave the penalty away was a childish [mistake], but with how the game was, my head at the moment, well, I accept the criticism.”

However Cancelo, who is on loan at Barça from Manchester City, said abuse of his family was an entirely different matter.

“Criticise my performances, I don’t mind, but don’t speak about my family.

“It has been a really difficult week to be honest. We were excited to go far in the Champions League. I think this club deserves it, but it’s a week we have to leave behind.

“That night [after PSG] I didn’t sleep because I couldn’t. Personally, when I don’t win, I really struggle to sleep because I feel like I didn’t do my job [well], I didn’t do well.

“I am just speaking for myself. It was a strange game. How we lost I think was what stopped me sleeping. I feel 11 vs. 11 we would have been able to win. But we have to keep going.”

Barça have an opportunity to put things right on Sunday when they travel to Madrid in LaLiga with the chance to cut the gap on the league leaders to five points with a win.

“It’s the biggest game [there is],” Cancelo said. “Barça against Madrid is a game that everyone is going to watch. There is no bigger motivation possible than responding on Sunday and trying to win the game.”