Love comes in different shades and colors. The love of a mother is one of the strongest love known to humanity. For Manchester City’s right full-back, Joao Cancelo, the love of his late mum has always remained indelible in his heart.
In 2013, while still playing with Benfica’s feeder team, Joao Cancelo who was then 18, experienced tragedy. Alongside his mom and his brother, they were on their way home. The mum Filomena, was on the wheel driving her Audi A3 when she lost control over the car and crashed.
Cancelo and his brother Pedro suffered minor injuries, but Filomena wasn’t so lucky. She died in the crash and it was a dark moment in the life of the young Joao Cancelo. The mum had always been a source of inspiration to the talented footballer. Always there to encourage him. Carrying him to training each day. Staying behind to watch him play.
Always there to lend the motherly affection and support where necessary. The beautiful Filomena was born in the town of Barreiro, she was Cancelo’s driving force as he fought to succeed in the game.
A devastated Joao Cancelo was broken and inconsolable. He took to his Facebook page to pen an emotional message to his late mum: “I lost the light of my life, my reason for living. I love you woman of my life, wherever you are I’m with you,”
“Always desire you to look after me and protect your father and brother. May be dead inside, but I will be strong and I will give you the greatest pride in the world
The young Joao started his football career with his local club, Barreirense. The mum who had always believed in his potential made sure she carried him in her car to training and match. At age 13, Joao he joined Portuguese giants Benfica’s youth set-up
Two months after the death of his mum, life was extremely difficult, for the young Portuguese U20 international. According to Joao, “Before, it was she who came and take me to train. She helped me with everything. “After that moment when she was gone, there was no one waiting for me. I came home and went to bed crying. I have my mother in my heart and she continues to be present with me.”
Always keep moving
A year after the death of his mum, Cancelo made his debut for Benfica against Gil Vicente in the Portuguese League Cup. It was an emotional game for the young Portuguese, but he played brilliantly and Benfica won the game 1-0.
He then went on loan to Valencia, where the La Liga side having been impressed with his performance, paid a whooping £13.8m on the right full-back. He went on to spend three successful seasons with the La Liga outfit from 2014-17.
A Grateful heart
Juventus soon scouted the talented defender and they moved quickly to secure his service in 2018. The Italian giant paid around £37m for Cancelo in a deal that saw him sign a five-year contract.
Cancelo had special tributes to his late mum who made his dream come true. A mother’s love can inspire an individual to do the impossible.
“I have a thank you for my brother, my sister, I have learned from all. But you, Mom, have been my incentive to achieve this goal in life. Your strength is mine, you are always with me. It’s all for you, Mom.”
Up there, am sure Filomena will be proud of his son who has gone on to play for the Portuguese senior national team and the English Premier League Champions, Manchester City. As a tribute to his beloved mum, each time Joao Cancelo scores, he points to the sky. A sign to thank his beautiful mum for all the affection she showed to him.
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