Andre Gomes describes his ‘hell’ at Barcelona: ‘I am not enjoying what I am doing’
Andres Gomes has opened up about his “hell” at Barcelona in a revealing interview with Spanish magazine Panenka.
The Barca midfielder has struggled to find his best form since joining the club from Valencia in 2016 and has been the subject of jeers and whistles from his own supporters on more than one occasion.
Coach Ernesto Valverde and goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen criticised supporters who turned against Gomes when he replaced Andres Iniesta during last weekend’s win against Atletico Madrid.
Gomes, 25, has revealed that the criticism is affecting him to the point that he no longer enjoys playing football like he did previously.
“I don’t feel good on the pitch,” he said. “I am not enjoying what I am doing. The first six months [at Barca] were pretty good but then things changed.
“Maybe it’s not the right word to use, but it has turned into a kind of hell, because I have started to feel more pressure. With pressure, I feel fine, but with the pressure [I put] on myself, I don’t. The feeling that I have during games is bad.”
Gomes has made 25 appearances in all competitions this season, although 15 have come from the bench. The treatment he’s received when he has been on the pitch has often left him not wanting to venture out for days after a match.
“On more than one occasion, I didn’t want to leave my house because [of the way] people look at you,” he added. “You have fear of going on the street out of shame.
“I close myself off. I don’t allow myself to get rid of the frustration I have. I don’t talk to anybody. It’s like I feel ashamed. Thinking too much has hurt me. I think about the bad things and what I have to do.
“My teammates help me a lot but things don’t work out the way they want them to work out. In training, I am generally relaxed although there can be days when I feel a little low on confidence and it’s noticeable. Maybe I played the day before and I still have the image of the game in my head and that doesn’t let me move forward.”
Gomes is one of several players in contention to start this week’s Champions League game against Chelsea at Camp Nou.
With Philippe Coutinho cup-tied, Valverde must choose between the Portugal international, Paulinho and Ousmane Dembele to complete his side for the second leg of the round-of-16 tie.
If Andres Iniesta is unable to participate, two of the three could even land starting berths.
Iniesta, who injured his hamstring against Atletico, took part in the first part of Monday’s training session and Valverde will leave it as late as possible before taking a decision on the captain’s fitness.
England youth international Marcus McGuane, who made his first-team debut last week, also trained as preparation began for this week’s visit from Chelsea.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.