Having been part of the Portuguese squad that upset the football odds over the summer to win their first European Championship in France, and following such success by completing a dream move to Barcelona, life for André Gomes probably can’t get much better at the moment.
Gomes was named in Fernando Santos’ squad for upcoming fixtures with Andorra and the Faroe Islands, and having featured heavily for Barça over recent weeks following a slow start to life in the Catalan city, the cultured midfielder is certainly demonstrating the potential which led to him to switch La Liga clubs from Valencia.
Interestingly, his big move may lead to a change in position, at least at club level, with Gomes being pushed further back in the pitch, with satisfactory results.
The 23-year-old made his debut in the season opening Spanish Super Cup against Sevilla, but it was his subsequent performance against Scottish champions Celtic that impressed new boss Luis Enrique. Despite predominantly being used as an attacking midfielder in his career to date, the former Benfica youngster was deployed in more of a holding role following an injury to Sergio Busquets, producing a fine display in helping his team to a 7-0 win.
Gomes was an unused substitute in Barcelona’s next Champions League game – a win over German Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach – and having failed to reach the final of the competition for the past two seasons, they will be gunning to go all the way against the odds this season. Bookmakers Betway currently offer the Spanish giants as 3/1 favourites for the trophy ahead of Bayern Munich and fierce rivals Real Madrid.
Real’s loss is Barça’s gain
Gomes had of course looked likely to sign for Zinedine Zidane’s Madrid before Barcelona came in at the last minute to seal a deal, and coach Enrique is delighted of such an intervention. He even appears to have earmarked the Portuguese player as a deputy for Sergio Busquets, who has struggled to get going this season.
“I liked him a lot in the centre midfield position. He offers us physicality,” the Spaniard said after the Celtic game, before adding that he believes that Gomes’ adaptability offers the side real options. “I have not asked him whether he has ever played as a holding midfielder but I don't close the door for him to play there in order to give Busquets a rest.”
Portugal’s embarrassment of riches in midfield means competition for places is fierce for the Seleção, but with Sporting midfielder Adrien out injured Gomes could well be a starter for Portugal in their World Cup 2018 qualifying match against Andorra on Friday, where Betway place the European Champions as a remarkable 1/200 on in the football odds to claim a much needed all three points.
Having lost out to Switzerland in their opening Group B encounter, Portugal will be relishing the return to fitness of Cristiano Ronaldo and Renato Sanches ahead of the match.
Related: André Gomes signs for Barcelona