Andre Gomes says his difficult experience at Barcelona has made him “more of a man” and that he is enjoying his football again at Everton.
The Portugal midfielder cost £50million when he made the move the Nou Camp from Valencia in the summer of 2016.
However, the 25-year-old struggled for form on Catalonia despite being a regular, and was even voted the ‘worst signing of the season’ by Marca readers in April 2017.
Gomes later admitted he became stuck in vicious cycle of underperformance and doubt in his own ability to the extent where he was too ashamed to leave his own house.
But since joining Everton on loan last August Gomes has been a revelation, showing the kind of form that prompted Barcelona to spend so much money on him in the first place.
In an honest interview with Sky Sports, Gomes has been reflecting on his time at Barca and how it has made him a stronger player.
“I feel more like a man now. Now I feel mature and experienced. I’m really happy to be in the Premier League and England.
”My father was, and is still, the big influence on me. Sometimes it is difficult for him because he suffers a lot when I am not happy or good.
”[At Barca] It was tough for me because I wasn’t feeling good. I had good moments, but in the bad moments it was difficult because I saw my father and mum suffering.
”It was really difficult for me to take care of expectations, not only from the fans, but my expectations and seeing my parents suffering. It was complicated. I’m enjoying football again.
”I can’t say I’m playing my best football, because I don’t want to put pressure or walls [on my potential]. I just want to get better physically, to give the best performances that I can.”
Gomes has also praised his manager and compatriot Marco Silva for helping him settle in at Goodison Park.
He was also quick to thank his teammates and everyone at the club for making him feel welcome - including impromptu kitman Phil Jagielka!
“He [Silva] given me confidence to keep moving forward and to be happy.
”All the people here have been amazing with me, all the staff and my teammates.
”I know it’s difficult sometimes to have a football player on loan and wondering how the first contact will be, but the boys here have been amazing with me.
”I remember on day one with Jags [Phil Jagielka], I didn’t have clothes to go to training, so he gave me the kit! He explained to me where to go for the training kit man and everything.
”I wasn’t unhappy in Barcelona, but I was feeling the struggle. Sometimes, I’m more negative than positive about myself. I’d be the first person to shout at myself, close the door and scream to myself that I didn’t play good.
”Sometimes, you try not to care about the things you read on social media, and even if you do, someone might tell you. It’s difficult because [Barcelona] is a massive club, and you have to be prepared.
”Somehow, perhaps I wasn’t prepared for that side. I was just preparing to play football, go to the stadium and play, so maybe I wasn’t prepared for that situation.”