When FC Barcelona signed André Gomes during the summer transfer window, they knew they were getting a very, very good player.
But just how many verys remained to be seen until Gomes got out onto the field and adapted to Barça’s signature style of play.
And now, with the first returns trickling in, it looks like Gomes is even better than expected.
In Barça’s 7–0 dusting of Celtic at Camp Nou on Tuesday night, Gomes evoked memories of one Xavi Hernández. Against Celtic, the Portuguese midfielder — starting his second game of the season — was sterling, completing 96 of 100 passing attempts.
Perhaps even more impressive, Gomes’s rock-solid consistency suffered no peaks or valleys even as he assumed all three midfield positions over the course of 90 minutes.
Gomes occupied the left midfield spot for the entire first half. At half-time, Gomes took over for Ivan Rakitic on the right side, when Rakitic was replaced by Andrés Iniesta. Then, in minute 61, when Rafinha came on for Sergio Busquets, Gomes took over as Barça’s central midfielder, a defensive oriented role that he excelled in and which further showcased his wide-ranging versatility.
Of Gomes’s 96 passes, 16 went to Jordi Alba. Alba reciprocated, and then some, sending 21 passes to Gomes, who also had five steals on the night.
How many verys are we up to now?