André Gomes is just like the rest of us, he feels the sting of criticism.
It’s rare for football fans to think of players as people. Insecurity and weakness are almost forbidden in the world of professional sports. The lens with which the public views players from is the antithesis of the rose coloured variety; fans can be relentless once it’s been established that a certain player is not up to scratch.
Gomes has been under more scrutiny than any other player for Barcelona in recent times. His form has been questionable but despite his misgivings as a player, it’s fair to say his treatment by certain fans is inexcusable.
In an interview with Spanish football magazine Panenka, Gomes spoke out on his frustrations and the anxiety he feels of late.
“I shut myself away,” Gomes said.
“I don’t allow myself to let out the frustration that I have. So what I do is I don’t talk to anyone, I don’t annoy anyone. It’s as if I feel ashamed.
“The notion of not wanting to leave the house has happened to me on more than one occasion. The idea of people being able to see you, it gives off a fear of going out into the street because of embarrassment.
When asked about his performances for the Blaugrana, Gomes went on to suggest that he’s been a victim of his own mind at times.
“Thinking too much hurts me because I think of bad things and then about what I have to do,” he said.
“Although my teammates support me quite a lot, things don’t come off in the way they want them to.
“I am calm when I’m training, although there are obviously some days where I’m a little short on confidence, because this is even noticeable in training.”
Source | Panenka
The comments came as a shock to many in the media. I myself wrote a scathing column about the Portuguese international back in January and whilst I stand by my take, I feel a tinge of guilt. The media are responsible for influencing the opinions of many fans and whilst I doubt my column was as far-reaching as those from other more mainstream outlets, I’d hate to think I’m part of the cause of so much angst for a player who obviously cares so deeply for the jersey he wears.
Regardless of my own sentiments, such derision will always be something that players have to face on a daily basis. It comes with the territory. In opening up about his feelings though, Gomes has taken the first steps towards strengthening his resolve and hopefully a clearer mindset will follow for the beleaguered midfielder.
The nature of Gomes’ comments might be considered to be overly negative but they are refreshingly honest. In a sporting world full of clichéd responses, Gomes’ revelations have undoubtedly endeared him to many that previously criticised him without mercy.
The Blaugrana midfielder has a long way to go before he can be considered a fan favourite but hopefully his honesty and openness will allow him the opportunity for a fresh start amongst supporters of the club. I know I’ll be keeping a firm eye on his future performances and I hope to see a return to form for the besieged former Valencia star. I hope the Barça faithful at the Camp Nou feel the same way too.