Emotional story! Cancelo dedicates first Barcelona goal to one person

Photo: Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images

Joao Cancelo scored on his full Barcelona debut, and scored the fifth goal, as Barca defeated Real Betis 5-0.

The Portuguese superstar dedicated the goal to his late mum, Filomena, who passed on in 2013 in a ghastly motor accident.

“Always for you, mom. Mommy, bless me,” Cancelo wrote on Instagram after the game against Real Betis.

Joao Cancelo and his brother were in the vehicle, but only suffered minor injuries, while his mum passed on.

Cancelo revealed that he almost quit football after the incident.

“When I lost my mother, I felt like I was at the bottom of a well,” Cancelo told Champions Journal in 2022.

“I felt like a robot that had to do its job, then go home, then another day – day in, day out. When I lost my mother, I didn’t enjoy my football; I was playing because I had to. I really thought of giving up because it didn’t make sense anymore.

“But the Benfica staff were constantly calling, asking me to come back because they believed in my potential.

“My father let things calm down, then he spoke to me. He said that both he and my brother needed me, they needed me to have the strength to continue because my father had to stay; he couldn’t go back to Switzerland anymore.

“I had already signed a professional contract with Benfica by then and much of my money was used to support my family, so I decided to play again. At first it wasn’t easy. I had no strength, no desire, but that conversation with my father and the love I have for this sport made me overcome everything.

“My love for the game started to gradually come back; my smile slowly returned. That’s what life is about. However big our losses, we have to carry on. I read a lot of stuff about warriors and certain things really resonate with me.

“I would really like to be able to talk to my mother because there’s always something missing. Even when I achieve something important, there’s always this feeling there. It’s as if I always have an emptiness in my heart because she is not physically there.

“In Portugal, I always go to the cemetery to see her. It’s like an obligation I have. That’s where I feel good, next to her. Even though she is not physically there, I feel good. It cleanses my soul, my bad energies, and helps me live happier.

“A big part of my love for football is due to my mother. I had great moments with her. Often when I play at the stadium, here in Manchester or even with the national team, I’ve felt like I had her watching. I would always look over to the stands before a game started, but now she’s not there.”