Our fourth and most likely final Headliner review came in the form of another hybrid style look at the Manchester City Swiss Army Knife, João Cancelo. Cancelo has been deployed in a wide variety of roles and positions by Pep this year, but regardless of the job assignment, the quality performances have remained constant. I was hoping this review would have shades of the Rulebreaker Trent Alexander-Arnold card when I did a similar experiment playing Onyeka at right back in order to free the Liverpool man into the midfield. I would say that the experiment failed this time for two reasons; One, because of the team building process and having to play Aouar at right back; Two, I didn’t have the same first impressions with Cancelo in a more forward roll and chose to change back after a 10 game test drive. I used a HAWK playing Cancelo in the midfield in order to improve some of the shooting statistics while adding a bit of physicality. Ending the review with a more defensively friendly ANCHOR as Cancelo resumed his role at right back. Regardless of where he played, Cancelo fit well into my 4-2-2-2 formation and was a strong contributor all weekend long in the following squad:
Pace Rating: 9/10
Dribbling Rating: 9/10
Shooting Rating: 8/10
Passing Rating: 10/10
Physical Rating: 8.5/10
Defending Rating: 9/10
I don’t know if I dare say this out loud… or in this case, type it. But standing at 182cm | 6’0 I can imagine that this card would be one of the best center backs in the game. I realize this is not a popular meta in FIFA 22 and long may those times continue, but realistically I think that is the area this card could truly dominate and live up to the very lofty price tag. As a midfielder, I wouldn’t recommend Cancelo over cheaper options such as Winter Wildcard Guendouzi… and similarity at RB it is sad to say but I would just stick with either version of Hakimi in the end. The card is quality, but you are paying a heavy Premier League and potential upgrade tax that Cancelo’s performances didn’t overcome.
Main Statistic - Passing
Passing Rating: 10/10
Weak Foot: ★★★★
So many of my recent reviews have felt like passing was always a key area the card would let me down. Finally, I was able to rely on a card to sling the ball around the pitch with the minimal fuss you would expect. Even better, he played these passes with correct accuracy and weight even under the pressure of the midfield. The 90 SHORT PASSING was so key early on in the weekend and the intricacy of play you can attempt was a breath of fresh air. The 83 LONG PASSING & 91 CROSSING was more notable playing as a right back but those were always pinpoint even when blistered across the pitch.
Main Attribute - Stamina
Physical Rating: 8.5/10
Playing as a box to box midfielder this was such a key attribute and the ability to set and forget Cancelo in the middle of the pitch was fantastic. This has a trickle down effect to the 95 ACCELERATION & 93 SPRINT SPEED, which I wasn’t overly blown away by, but what I did note was how long he was able to move at the same pace. Unfortunately, even with the fantastic stamina I still felt Cancelo lacked in physicality overall… his 73 STRENGTH felt considerably underpowered which was certainly a problem. As a midfielder, I felt I was able to get away with it, but as the review shifted into defense the issue became more prominent.
Value/Coins & Good vs. Bad
Value/Coins Rating: 4/5
Good vs Bad Rating: 5/5
266k is a lot of coins for a right back that is not either an ICON or extremely overpowered. The issue is of course the heavy potential for upgrades with a card like Cancelo and the idea that with every boost this card looks more and more enticing. I get it and I love the gamble, but for me, Cancelo was neither a 260k midfielder, and definitely not a 260k right back, and therefore I would suggest he is overpriced.
The area that was always going to sink Cancelo as a box to box midfielder was going to be the shooting. While there were some frustrating and borderline comical attempts at goal during the review, there were also moments that caught me off guard as Cancelo harnessed his 97 SHOT POWER & 91 LONG SHOTS to send bombs flying towards and into goal. The 79 FINISHING was not ideal and caused issues, but there were a few goals of note and overall Cancelo was able to chip in offensively from time to time.
This is one of those reviews that a lot of you criticize but unfortunately remains the truth of the situation. The “see-saw” of points about Cancelo comes from a place of reviewing a card that was quite good and overall warranted the 9/10 rating but has competitors that cause issues when it comes to recommending the card. What I have attempted to do is paint a picture of a card that performs well with minimal flaws, but has outlying factors causing a price point I wouldn’t pay myself. I would say Cancelo performed at a 9/10 as both a midfielder and a right back and does offer some interesting squad building opportunities. But for me, the issue comes in the fact that there are 9.5/10 midfielders and 9.5/10 defenders that are out there on the market for cheaper than what you have to cough up for Cancelo. If and when Cancelo is upgraded the conversation changes, but for the time being I wouldn’t recommend spending hard earned coins on this card… unless you are considering him at centre back, but let’s not start that again. Hoping you are safe and well. Cheers for reading.