Barcelona defender Joao Cancelo has hit back at critics who voiced their dissatisfaction after a video showed him getting frustrated with a set of fans outside the training ground.
Cancelo could be seen in the video saying “You’re so annoying, my God. You are here every day. Do I have to stop my car every day?”
This sparked outrage and a number of comments from supporters who were unhappy with his treatment of “fans”, but Cancelo has labelled them fake fans, claiming they stop him every day to get signed memorabilia to later sell.
Posting on Instagram he said:
"“Given the stupidity that is written here in the comments I have several things to say: First they are not fans, they are 20-year-old ‘kids’ who are there every day either at the door of the training centre, or when I am with my daughter in a park or out to dinner with my girlfriend,” Cancelo wrote.“Secondly, they asks for autographs on stickers or shirts and sell them later. And this is repeated every day, and always by the same people. There are people who don’t know how to respect each other’s space. To the people who criticize, try to find out the reality of the situation and then comment. Because true fans will always respect. Stay safe.”"
It’s true that at major clubs all over Europe, there is a business side to autograph hunting. Some do it for the love of the game, the team and the player…but others do it as a way to make a quick euro. A lot of signed memorabilia goes for silly money on auction sites like eBay, and so for some of these guys, it’s a simple way to make a profit.
It’s understandable that some players who see the same people day after day get frustrated. There’s a good chance that a few of these “fans” have never seen a Barca game.
It becomes more frustrating when players are stopped and interrupted when enjoying some personal time with family and friends. There are certain boundaries that need to be respected, but a lot of people disregard those boundaries.
Cancelo does have a little bit of a reputation for being difficult, and I think this has influenced the heat he’s getting at the moment, but I don’t blame Cancelo for his reaction.