squad | 2017-01-31
André Gomes: ‘Barça fans are used to win, that adds extra pressure’
The Portuguese player says that “he can demand more of himself”.
André Gomes was one Barça’s summer signings in 2016 and his adaptation to culé discipline hasn’t been a smooth ride for the young footballer. As he admits in an recent interview with GQ Magazine, Gomes feels the pressure of being part of a juggernaut football club as Barcelona and acknowledges that the learning and improving process never ends.
Do you think the current fans don’t have the patience of those from the 80’s and 90’s?
I don’t see it that way. The fans demand of you more or less of what they are used to. Obviously, in Barcelona they’re used to always win so it’s normal the players have that extra bit of pressure. The people want to celebrate, battle for all the possible titles.
That must not be comfortable…
The public wants more and more and you have more pressure. But you need to adapt. Everybody who comes to this club knows that. People want to win but when you arrive here, you have almost have more desire than the fans.
Can we say your adaptation period to the club and to Luis Enrique’s game systems is finished?
Well, I believe that never happens. There is an adaptation period but you never know how long will it take and how much time are you going to need to be comfortable. To be comfortable and for the people to be comfortable with you as well.
And do you feel comfortable?
For now, I’m happy. I’m having opportunities and people are treating me well. My teammates welcome me very well. I can’t ask for anything else regarding the people surrounding me. What I do can demand is more of myself. I want to be better in the matches and trainings. I’m very young, but I always think I can contribute more and be more prepared. I can’t picture being here in FC Barcelona and not winning everything. Or almost everything.
Must be difficult to find a motivation when someone has won everything you have with only 23 years old?
I’m lucky to have achieved important things. I’ve played in great clubs and right now I’m in FC Barcelona. I’ve achieved something very important for my country, something people will never forget and I’ll never forget it either. No one saw it coming, not even us. I mean, we had like a clear purpose but we also knew it was very hard. Portugal has had great players before but we have never achieved something, so it was an honor and a pride to me.
What’s next is to keep winning titles, to keep improving. The important is to find new purposes and I want to win everything with Barcelona. And with the Portuguese national team there is still much time left to fight for my spot, to be there and play the World Cup. What can I say? I’m thankful for what I have right now. I hope to win more titles during the next years.
What is your first memory related to football?
I was very young, a child. I was six or seven years old when I started to play. This passion comes especially from my father [Casimiro Gomes] and my brother [Nuno Gomes]. Nuno was already playing football, he’s older than me and my father had played also in the lower divisions. So it was already in my blood.
Where did you play?
At first, in the street. I remember that first phase, the first touches to the ball. I loved it. I played with my neighbors and friends.
Once you started playing in the children’s category, you should have had little time to hang out with your friends.
Yes, it’s true. The footballers have to grow up a bit earlier than the rest of the boys. And sudden difficulties show up. I began to train seriously with 13 or 14 years old. I trained with my father on top of what I was already training with the club. I also remember the preseasons which I started earlier to be physically fit. And little by little, you acquire a more professional rhythm than an amateur player.
Was it difficult to become a professional footballer?
Well, I was living in Porto and I had to change cities. I went to Lisbon without my parents and to me that was a first time. There are children who experience this at a younger age but in my case, I was 17 or 18 years old. It was an important step. The club had a lot of interest on me and the arrangement was good for both parties. I lived it as something important and especial. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to have good years, to play matches in the First Division and to win trophies.
What do you remember of your debut with the first team?
It was a Cup game and I scored a goal so it was a complete match. They’re memories which you remember fondly. My parents were watching the game. But truth is, you enter the pitch and you don’t know where you are and when you’re finished, you don’t know how you did it. What I never forget is that my family was on the field and they realize that -although I was still growing- I could reach far away.
Is there more pressure in FC Barcelona than in Benfica or Valencia?
The situation is different. In Portugal, Benfica is a very very important club because of its history and fans. I’ve not been able to win titles with them despite I played an Europa League final but we weren’t lucky enough to win it. In Benfica the fans pressure you because they’re used to be the big club in Portugal.
And in Valencia?
Valencia is a historic club and it was an honor to play for them. I grew up a lot, people trusted me to be there and play. They respected me and I respected them. Besides, as a 20-year-old I was ready to conquer the world. It was an important spell on a personal level. For the club, maybe it wasn’t as good but it helped me a lot.
And in Barcelona?
In Barcelona? Well, everybody knows what Barça means. I’m here to enjoy of the best football.
One last question, the photo shootings, the endorsement of brands, the fact your name is familiar worldwide, the fame...how do you take it?
Well, I don’t like fame. I rather go unnoticed, that people don’t look at me much. For the good and the bad and even so with my profession. Because we can be great one day and things change the next one. So you need to keep a balance: to not over celebrate the joys but also to not let the setbacks to undermine your confidence. Fame can be confusing sometimes.
Anything wrong? Send your correction.
WRITTEN BY: Jaime Ibarra
Jaime is a chemical engineer from Venezuela who is passionate about football and Barça. He loves the club’s history and he has been an unconditional fan since Ronaldo “The Phenomenon” amazed the world with the Blaugrana colors.