Andre Gomes labels Everton his 'love at first sight'
Last Updated: 04/07/19 3:53pm
Andre Gomes says his love for Everton was the driving force behind his desire to make a permanent move to Goodison Park from Barcelona.
The 25-year-old made 29 appearances on loan at Everton from Barcelona last season, and completed a £22m return to the club on a five-year deal late last month.
Gomes managed just 27 league starts in two years at Barcelona following a £30m move from Valencia. But the Portugal international has no regrets about moving to the Nou Camp as it helped him develop his game.
"It was a really good experience. I spent two years there. I improved a lot and I know the game much better than before," Gomes said of his experience at Barcelona.
"But the opportunity at Everton was really good, a new start. People gave me the confidence to come here and enjoy my life and that was what I was trying to do.
"It was love at first sight. I really appreciate what they (the fans) did for me. I came injured so it wasn't easy but from the first time, they were with me.
"Obviously Barcelona was really important for me. I played with the best players in the world - Iniesta, Messi, Sergio Busquets, so I was really glad to have been at Barcelona."
Despite an inconsistent campaign, Gomes was one of the Everton's best performers last season. The club finished eighth, three points off a Europa League spot, and Gomes is determined to lead Everton back into Europe.
"We want to reach Europe, that is the main goal for the club," he added.
"We are working hard for that. We had good moments and bad moments last season but finished really well so it is a good way to start the next one (season).
"The manager and Marcel (Brands, director of football) have spoken about it and we want to play in European competitions.
"I think we can reach European qualification so we are working on that."