Loaned for a year without a purchase option by the English club Everton, André Gomes has found playing time and rhythm in Lille in Ligue 1.
While he had only started twice in the Premier League since February, the Portuguese started five matches for three appearances, the first against Montpellier five days after his arrival.
If he has not yet scored or managed a decisive pass, his ability to recover the balls and pass them cleanly to the attacking quartet makes him the barometer of Lille’s game.
“I can be technical but, if I have to go to the coal, I do it for the good of the team. Sometimes you have to be hard on the man, win the physical fight, ”explained the European champion in 2016 last week at a press conference.
A finding that will not surprise those who have met him this season in Ligue 1, since only the Lensois Salis Abdul Samed commits more faults per game.
This aggressive side, however, is less obvious than the rest: tall (1.88m), elegant with the ball at his feet and endowed with a wide range of passes, André Gomes shows himself to be up to a CV which has seen him pass by Benfica, Valencia and Barcelona before going to the Premier League.
“My adaptation is going very well, I was well received and I believe in the coach’s philosophy. He wants us to take the game on our own and play spectacular football, which allows us to express ourselves on the pitch,” praised the midfielder.
« Use my experience »
If Paulo Fonseca had never coached him, the Lille coach knew his compatriot well, called up for selection at 19 and international 29 times. The reverse was also true, Gomes having rubbed shoulders with players who passed through the hands of the technician.
« I had a lot of information and, when I met him, we talked a lot about his ideas on the game. In training, he is meticulous and gives precise instructions that we quickly understand, » said claimed the 29-year-old.
« The Job is Done, Let the Battle Happen »
Although five members of the squad are older than him, his experience makes him a special element.
With five Champions League campaigns and five starts at the Euro won six years ago, Gomes has solid international experience and can claim to have played with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I’m here to try to help as best I can using my experience in all areas possible. Lille was a great team before my arrival but I can bring my knowledge of football to young people and receive in return, ”he explained, smiling.
Three years almost to the day after suffering a terrible fractured right ankle with dislocation against Tottenham, André Gomes, who had sometimes been heckled by fans when he played in Barcelona and whose future at Everton was blocked, seems appeased .
“You learn by passing difficult tests and the injury is my worst memory. I managed to get over it and it is now behind me. There have been ups and downs but that is part of being a footballer. I had the chance to live great moments. »