The enigma that is André Gomes has been one of the key talking points for the Catalan giants this season. Moving north from Valencia following his Euro 2016 triumph for an astronomical fee in the region of £50 million, it’s been glaringly obvious to all that he’s yet to live up to his titanic price tag.

Criticised for his lackadaisical demeanour, unadventurous passing and lack of creativity, Gomes’ reputation has been greatly maimed in spite of the countless plaudits he received following his exemplary 2015/16 campaign at the Mestalla.

The 23-year-old has been in and out of Luis Enrique’s starting XI this season during his debut campaign for the Spanish giants. Expectations were high when Gomes signed for the Blaugrana. However, in recent weeks it’s reported that Messi is growing frustrated with Gomes’ contribution and the Argentine superstar believes Barcelona should sell him, Spanish publication Diario ­­Gol claim.

From bad to worse

In contrast to his performances over two seasons at Valencia, Gomes has yet to live up to his potential in the Catalan capital and although the criticism he’s received at times is unjust, by no means has he deserved great plaudits. Luis Enrique has given the 23-year-old countless chances, very few of which he’s performed in the manner he has done in previous years. This past weekend he was given a start once more in Barcelona’s 2-0 defeat to Malaga and again, his performance was lacklustre.

In the 61 minutes where he was on the field, Gomes failed to recover a single ball. In addition to this, he only won 16 percent of his duels, the lowest percentage of the 28 players who played. His contributions on the ball also made for unflattering stats, with Gomes’ involvement minimal. With 24 passes, he was the Barcelona player with the least engagement, apart from goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, who made 20. Andres Iniesta and Sergi Roberto, who came on at half time, made 38 and 26 respectively. 

2016/17 overview

Gomes operates predominantly as a box-to-box central midfielder, where his sublime technique and impressive physical stature allow him to make penetrating runs through the opposition’s midfield. Of late, however, Gomes seems to have altered his game drastically. Instead, he often sits in front of Barcelona’s back three opting to make basic passes backwards or sideways, much to the dismay of many of the Barcelona faithful. 

To make matters worse for the former Valencia man, Luis Enrique has altered his position on a number of occasions, even experimenting with him as a right winger. The lack of confidence in his game is transparent for all to bare witness to; the fact that he’s been unable to cement one position to make his own has only made things far more difficult for the Portugal international.

Gomes’ stats so far this season have been unimpressive to say the least. He’s averaged 0.3 key passes per game, 0.6 dribbles per game and 0.7 shots per game, not to mention the fact he only has one assist and one goal to his name in 37 appearances for the Catalan giants. Contrast that to his numbers for Portugal during their Euro 2016 triumph, where he provided 1.6 key passes per game, 1.4 dribbles per game and 1.2 shots per game. It’s clear that the Grijó native is finding life in Barcelona very difficult indeed.

 

Stats courtesy of WhoScored.com

The lack of confidence in Gomes’ game this season has been detrimental, and this is shown when comparing his statistics with Barcelona and Portugal. His passing accuracy appears to be impressive for Barcelona (94.6%). However, in actual fact, it’s only so high due to the lack of adventure and confidence in his passing when wearing the Barça shirt. In contrast, his passing accuracy for Portugal reads in at 82.3%, along with 1.6 key passes per game, which displays how differently he approaches games for club and country. 

Style of play

As previously stated, Gomes’ best position is when used as a box-to-box midfielder. His athletic ability and technical prowess allow for him to transition defence to attack in a comfortable and efficient manner. His technical ability also allows for him to maintain possession of the ball in tight spaces, as seen in the clip below where he illustrates a snippet of his former self.

Despite the countless qualities he possesses as a central midfielder, André Gomes’ composure in front of goal should not be overlooked regardless of his lack of end product this season. Last season at the Mestalla he scored goals from various positions, whether it be emphatically, a poacher-like finish or a penetrating run through the opposition’s defence.

Defensively Gomes’ contributions have been poor. Given his impressive physical stature one would expect the Portugal international to dominate the midfield. Nevertheless, Gomes has only provided 1.1 tackles per game on average, along with 0.4 interceptions and 0.2 clearances. Much of the frustration towards Gomes has derived from the lack of tenacity he’s showed defensively, often showing an alarming apathy when it comes to ensuring no danger is created by the opposition. 

What does the future hold for André Gomes?

Certainly, Gomes has quality in abundance. Many players past and present have struggled greatly when they have arrived at the Camp Nou. Taking into account his young age and the criticisms he is receiving on a daily basis from an incredibly demanding fan-base, along with speculation that some Barcelona’s stars are reportedly calling for Gomes to be sold this summer, it’s not surprising that his confidence is at an all-time low. 

At 23, Gomes is young enough to change the course of his career and become the top-class player we witnessed over the previous two seasons. The key to that happening will be for the next manager to rebuild his self-esteem and home in on one position for the Portuguese to blossom into the player he has shown he can be. The question is, at a club where winning and winning in style is a constant necessity, will he be given time to turn things around?

by Marino Peixoto

 

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  • Guest - Eleazor

    Who would you rather have in your club, Lionel Messi or Andre Gomes?

    Messi created every single chance for Barça against Juve. When Gomes only passed sideways. He did nothing.

    from Israel
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  • Yes, yes! Let’s cheer the little Hitler and his contributions! Let’s see, according to whoscored.com (not Messi-fan-boy-sucky-sucky-site) Lionel Hitler had 4 giveaways (Gomes had 0) and he also had 2 lost aerial challenges. Messi stats vs Juventus and the POWERHOUSE Malaga. 0 goals, 0 assists, 12 giveaways. Where were the MSN against the amazing MALAGA? We all know MALAGA are the scourge of Europe, more feared than the Mongols and the black plague!

    For Farcalona bandwagon fans it’s easy to blame a bit player or bench player like Gomes instead of blaming the actual starters because, well “reasons”. Iniesta was pure garbage, Mascherano and Rakitic were looking at their cell phones on both Dybala goals. Was anyone marking Chiellini at all?

    Suarez is the only player who gives it 100% every game but he can’t do it alone and sometimes he gets the munchies and bites people. Neymar invisible, Messi invisible, Iniesta invisible. Put the blame where it belongs, on the team itself. Overall Farca is just are not as good as the big clubs in Europe and unless they get the usual 12th man assistance, they are out of champions league and out of the league title race. TOMA!

    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • Guest - George

    Gotta say, I agree with Val here. The Hitler thing is going too far but I understand what he's saying.

    I love how the Messi ass-kissing media paints him as a gentlemanly saint when he is, in fact, more of a petulant tyrant. How many times a game does Messi DEMAND an opposing player get carded without the media mentioning it? How many times does he dive when touched? How many times does he berate officials for calls that have gone against him? How many times does he refuse to shake someone's hand after losing a game? How many times does he choke and miss a chance (even penalties - think Argentina) when championships are on the line? How many times does he get to hold his country hostage either by demanding to approve of coaches or players before inclusion (think Icardi as a player example) or refusing to play for them altogether (his "retirement" after losing the Copa America Centenario - an EXTRA tournament and chance for him to win for Argentina by the way)? How many times does he cause a rift in the dressing room by asking for players to be dropped? Honestly, I could go on for a while here... God forbid Ronaldo do ANY of these things ONCE - the media will crucify him and deliberately paint him as arrogant and heartless - but Messi? Aka Mother Theresa? Nope. He and Barcelona can do no wrong. Barca's win against PSG gets painted as a legendary hard-fought comeback (the choking and referee assistance didn't happen at all), and Messi gets an MVP award from the public at the World Cup in Brazil, over the likes of Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller, for running a lot. Messi does ONE charitable thing and it's plastered all over the television; Ronaldo is one of those most charitable athletes in the world, including DONATING BLOOD on a regular basis, but do you ever hear about that? Nope. Ronaldo's just a selfish guy... I hate Messi just as much as Val does. And the more I think about it, the more I believe there's an anti-Portuguese sentiment in the football world, and especially, in Spain. And a lot of that ties into what's going on with Andre Gomes I believe.

    As Val said, Barca lost convincing again yesterday, this time to Juve, and Gomes only came on in the second half when Barca were already down 2-0. Was that his fault too? I know he wasn't great when he came on, but honestly, every time I watch a Barca game, it looks like players go deliberately out of their way to NOT pass him the ball! How's that for building a players' confidence? You got a coach who needlessly tinkers with the whole team (to the point of playing CBs as fullbacks over Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba - thus completely nullifying another outlet on the flanks), and doesn't know whether or not to play Gomes much less WHERE. Add to that the fact that that magisterial front three of Messi, Suarez, and Neymar never track back, and you have a player in Gomes, who has absolutely no confidence, and is outnumbered in midfield on a consistent basis.

    Yes Gomes hasn't been great, I've criticized him a few times when he plays for Portugal as well, but to a certain extent, in this situation with Barcelona, what do people expect him to do exactly? Pass to that rampaging fullback Mascherano or Mathieu? Defensively cover for 2 or 3 guys when his other teammates leave him out on an island? Pull a Maradona, slice through the bus of the opposing team, and score goals even when he's asked to play as a defensive midfielder? Like, please. Temper your criticism people. He can only does so much as he adapts to life at Barcelona.

    And as far as Messi goes, Ronaldo sure doesn't mind playing with Gomes. In fact, doing so helped give him an international title. Gomes seems to play much better with Ronaldo than with Messi, even in similar positions, which confuses me. Aren't great players supposed to make those around them better? Isn't that what the media tells us about Messi? He's such a great leader and makes everyone better by, among other things, opening up space for them? It must just be Gomes because you can see Messi doing that for a regular basis for Argentina... oh wait. No. No you can't actually.

    I hope Gomes does get sold in the summer. Even though I'm not his biggest fan, I can recognize when someone's being mistreated and he's being mistreated at Barca. I hear Juve's interested actually. He'd have to take a massive step down, to a team that could never beat Barca, but I think it'd be worth it for him.

    Oh wait.... About that winning thing....

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  • George,

    Thank you for that but let me clarify because I often write crap that sounds way worse than what I mean.

    For the record I am NOT angry at Messi, I don't hate Messi. In fact I admire the guy and love watching him play. It is impossible to be a true fan of the sport and not watch the guy with admiration.

    What I am pissed off about and what you alluded to in your post, is the hypocrisy of the media. This blame-game crap is insanity. Just a month ago Barca gets roasted by PSG and every single "analyst" starts crying "ITS ALL OVER, BARCA IS FINISHED!" then Barca come back and win and crisis is over. Barca lose to Juve again in a one sided manner and ITS ALL OVER!!!

    This crap ticks me off to no end ALMOST as much as the obvious pro-Barca-Messi media and the obvious anti Ronaldo media. Remember when Ronaldo paid millions of dollars to get that Spanish kid an operation? That was only covered in Spain, and I only saw it because I have RTP. If that was Messi he would get a statue and a key to the city. It was Ronaldo so, meh move on.

    Messi fan boys (like the guy above) are reasons why people often who love one player or one club hate the rival or other because of the sheer ignorance and stupidity of their narrative. "Who would you rather have Messi or Gomes?" GET A CLUE DUDE and read the article. I would take Messi and so would anyone else on the planet but that is not the point or the question even.

    Is Gomes a scapegoat? YES. Is Gomes a deserving scapegoat given his playtime and impact? HELL NO! Apparently Gomes is supposed to outscore the MSN, defend better than Pique and play right back, left back and hand out empanadas at half time to the starving children. It is ridiculous how many idiots spout this crap and then its just repeated by more idiots.

    I thought Gomes did well when he came on and pushed Barca forward, he also fouled/stopped anyone trying to get past him. THATS HIS JOB!

    Remember Eder being crucified (on this site as well), how about the hate Quaresma received? There is always a scapegoat when clubs lose, it is often the foreigner and if you are Portuguese and you play in Spain you better walk on water every game of they will hate you.

    I am also not his biggest fan but he is talented and he is being made out to be a horrific player when he is not. He deserves a chance at a club that doesn't take a dump on his head every game. Its one thing for the fans to do it, then the media to do it but his own team-mates? F- that garbage, who the hell wants team mates like that?

    That's all. Thanks. :)

    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • Guest - Danny DaSilva

    Americans love Messi over Ronaldo, which doesn't surprise me considering that they voted in Donald Trump not long ago. It seems that arrogance pays off in some parts of the world.

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    I have been a fan of Andre Gomes since he first broke into Benfica's main squad afew years back, and I have always thought (and still do) that he has the potential to become one of the best box to box number 8's in the world. I just think his move to Barcelona was the wrong move. Firstly they seem to be a club in steady decline over the last few years, as their last 2 CL away results show clearly.

    Secondly their tiki taka system of play of pass, pass, pass is not best suited to Andre Gomes' game. More of a direct and all action style of play would be better suited to him. Last summer Real Madrid and Juventus were both interested in signing him too, and I think either of those would've been much better options for Gomes, and their style of play would've been much better suited to him than Barca's tiki taka.

    Yes I agree he's been made the scapegoat at Barca, which is so unfair, really it's their mediocre defence (which they still haven't rectified after all these years) that's still their biggest problem, combined with a lack of flexilbility and viable Plan B to the tiki taka. So let them blame Gomes all they want, the best thing he could possibly do is join another club better suited to his style of play, this summer already.

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  • Guest - Andre/UK
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Nicely said Andre and I agree. I had a similar conversation with Chris as well about Renato and how he would be playing and excelling at a Man United type team that needs a direct, hard nosed CM but he went to Bayern and has to sit.

    Gomes needs to play on a direct team that KNOWS its identity. Barcelona seem to be in transition from the old tiki-taka guard and the new style that Luis Enrique has tried to implement. He is not a tiki-take player, Andre Gomes is run down your throat player that likes to shoot. He plays for Barcelona under strict rules (probably pass to MSN all the time, don't do anything else) which is pure crap.

    He should play on Sevilla or Celta Vigo, even an Everton where they run down the middle.

    If you read what Dani Alves, Samuel Etoo or Zlatan said about Barcelona and how things are run this is NOT surprising. Hope Gomes gets the hell out of Farca and they can now shift the blame to whatever poor foreigner gets their ire.

    Here is the Dani Alves interview;
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/2907805/dani-alves-barcelona-jose-mourinho-real-madrid-football/

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  • Guest - Andre/UK

    @Val: yeah man another key point I feel is this, the fact that for the last 2 decades Barcelona don't seem to have fancied buying Portuguese players. If I'm not mistaken, Gomes is the first Portuguese player to play for Barca since Deco, more than 10 years ago now. It seems to me a possibility that the club and their fans were so pissed at Figo's defection to Real Madrid in 2000 that they stopped wanting to get Portuguese players in general. In the 16 years between Figo and Andre Gomes, there were only 2 other Portuguese at the Nou Camp: Quaresma and Deco. Quaresma's time there (one season) was a shambles and while Deco was successfull, he was still overshadowed by the likes of Ronaldinho, Xavi and Iniesta.

    Or perhaps it's just a case of Portuguese players and their style of play, not fitting the Barca tiki taka model. The tiki taka is essentially a very systematic style, where as you said Val, players are under strict instructions, namely to pass pass and pass some more. There's not much place for individualism and risk taking in that system. To me, Portuguese players are more similar to South American players (where there's more of a value put on flair, individualism and risk taking) than Spanish players who tend to me more systematic in general in their approach. As a result it's no surprise that a player like Quaresma, the epitome of an individual artist type player, didn't make the cut at Barca! So I don't know, the point is the Nou Camp hasn't been a happy place (or a place at all!) for Portuguese players in the last couple of decades, and we all seem to agree that the sooner Gomes moves from there, the better!

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  • Guest - Andre/UK
    Rated 5 out of 5 stars

    Deco made sense as he had ridiculously quick feet and mind but he was much more effective as a Porto player where he could run the opposing team into the ground and the only way to get the ball off him was to foul him. Late in the game nobody was better than Deco of running the clock down and getting fouled. Quaresma is great as well of doing the same thing.

    Anyhow when you apply game time minutes to the hate poured on Gomes it is obviously (to anyone but the Farca fanbase) its a witch hunt. MSN hasn't scored a damn goal in 2 games and not a peep about them. Paul Pogba is currently the biggest bust in Europe and Man U fans are angry but it doesn't compare to what Gomes gets and Pogba plays every game. Neymar has scored 9 goals man, 9! That is about $780,000 per goal he scores. That guy gets 7 mill a year and he puts out 9 goals...

    from Burlington, ON, Canada
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  • Guest - Adam

    Classic case of being played out of position and having your style completely changed. Quaresma refused to do this Barca. Anderson was completely destroyed by Manchester United, he was a playmaking number 10 and Fergie tried to change him into a defensive mid. I will never understand this.

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