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02.11.2018, 12:40
Aleix Gomez: another golden Catalan wing
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FEATURE: Formed in Barcelona, 21-year-old Aleix Gomez has earned a place in the first team in record time thanks to his efficiency and talent
 

Aleix Gomez: another golden Catalan wing

Just one year ago, 21-year-old Aleix Gomez often asked coach Xavi Pascual if he should train or play with Barcelona B. “No, Aleix, you’re here, you’re a first-team player,” was Pascual’s response.

Gomez needed some months to realise where he was and what he had accomplished. Everything went faster and better that he could expect. A gold medal at the IHF Men’s Junior World Championship 2017 and the All-star Team right wing spot at the event came just weeks before he had Pascual’s definitive blessing.

It was not luck. Gomez’s adaptation was great since the beginning. He played without succumbing to pressure and without fear, while recording statistics more usual for veterans than for a wing whose first plan was to play with the second team and help the first in certain moments.

Arriving at Barca nine years ago, Gomez played on the right back before his physique (183 cm, 79 kg) saw him moving to the wing. He is quick and secure on fast breaks, has technique and a magic wrist, and is a guarantee in two-against-one defence.

Montpellier: the definitive match

Barcelona needed a comeback against Montpellier to continue on the way to the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2017/18 and Palau Blaugrana presented the best atmosphere of the season to push the team. It was a crucial match and Gomez was in the starting line-up ahead of captain Victor Tomas.

“It was big responsibility and I’m thankful to coach for the confidence. It meant a lot for me, that match,” says Gomez, before explaining how Pascual played an essential role in his development, giving him the opportunity to play and reach the first team. “Pasqui always saw the best of me, not just now. When I was younger and I started to play in Barcelona, we received some advice from him. My generation was a little naughty.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Victoria en el Palau, ahora toca una semana para cargar pilas y seguir trabajando 🔴🔵 #barça #asobal

A post shared by Aleix Gómez Abelló (@aleixgomez11) on

Sharing his position and playing time with Tomas is a big responsibility: “He has achieved the most important things in Barcelona and it’s a mirror for me. We have a great relationship; and with respect, because he is a legend, I tell him when I think he can improve in some aspects.”  

Teammates, the key to everything

Gomez’s friends were surprised when they heard him talking on the phone with teammates, asking: ‘Really, are you that confident with them?’

“The players was the key to everything. I felt like one of them from the first day. I’m really thankful for how they accepted me. The players gave me the confidence from the beginning, especially in bad moments, and they helped me always,” explains Gomez.

In fact, this is an important key to Barca’s success – Pascual always says that he could not be prouder of how the veteran players welcome newcomers.

“I can easily imagine us at the top of Group A”

This Sunday (19:00 CET at Palau Blaugrana), Gomez will face Daniel Dujshebaev, a former Barca player and his teammate in the youth and junior national squads. At the moment, these are the two players from the 1997 generation of Spanish players – the current champions of the IHF Junior World Championship and the U20 EHF EURO – to have reached the Champions League.

“He is a good friend. We often did a lot of thing together because his family wasn’t living in Barcelona,” says Gomez.

Ahead of Barca’s upcoming clashes against Kielce and Vardar, which will be crucial in the race to top Group A, Gomez is the team’s top scorer with 25 goals – including 11 against Rhein-Neckar Löwen in Manheim.

“We’re working very well. Kielce and Vardar are strong teams with great players, but I think it’s hard to win against us this season. All matches will be with a close end, but if we give our best, I can easily imagine us on the top of Group A.

“Our stronger point is defence. If we are intense at our end, we can run and find good options in attack. We play faster this season and we got good results.”

“I dream of the Champions League”
 
When asked about personal goals this season, Gomez does not hesitate: “The Champions League. It doesn’t matter if I play bad, I want the Champions League.”
 
Gomez has extended his contract with Barcelona until 2021. The club sees him as a player for the future – and the right wing realises where he is and could not be happier about it. With Pascual’s confidence behind him, Gomez expects to continue on the same line.  

Three or four years ago, in low moments, Gomez always remembers his mother saying: “with work, everything arrives.” And now it is clear that mothers always know best. With the name ‘Aleix’ and number 20 printed on his back, there is no doubt about his role – he is a player for the present and a player for future. Another golden Catalan wing.

 


TEXT: Laia Coll / cg
 
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