Barcelona new boy Andre Gomes has revealed he chose a Nou Camp switch over moving to Real Madrid as he believes he is a perfect fit for the Catalans' playing style. Meanwhile, the club's director of professional sports, Albert Soler, admitted the Portugal international was not in Barcelona's original plans for the current transfer window, but they moved to secure his services as he presented a great opportunity to bolster their midfield.
The 22-year-old star was one of the current transfer window's hottest properties after attracting the attention of a number of Europe's elite, including Chelsea, Manchester United, Juventus and Real Madrid.
Barcelona were also mentioned with an interest in the player, but it was believed that they would not enter a battle for his services as they had other priorities and a restricted public transfer budget of €60m (£50.3m, $66m), plus any money generated by sales.
A number of Spanish media outlets, including the ever-prestigious Marca, claimed early last week that Real Madrid were ready to make him their second signing of the summer, following the arrival of Alvaro Morata from Juventus. Reports said that Zinedine Zidane had identified the player as the perfect alternative to Paul Pogba, and Los Blancos were rumoured to be on the verge of completing his signing from Valencia in a €50m deal.
However, just days later, on 21 July, Barcelona shocked the world by revealing they had reached a formal agreement with Valencia for the transfer of the Portugal international. He became the club's fourth signing of the summer, following the previous additions of Denis Suárez, Samuel Umtiti and Lucas Digne.
Asked during his presentation as a Barcelona player why he chose the Catalans over Real Madrid, Gomes said: "It is a personal matter, everyone has their personality, and my personality and philosophy fit with Barcelona. It has to do with my identity, philosophy and what I consider important to football.
"I had to choose and I chose what I believe was the best for me to keep growing. I believe I have not made a mistake. I'm happy to come to this great team. When Barça came to me I didn't have much to decide. It is a dream for me and my family. It's an honour to wear this shirt. I am very proud. I've fulfilled a dream for me and my family."
Barcelona decided to forget about their €60m transfer kitty to beat other suitors for the player's services, paying Valencia a set amount of €35m deal plus €20m in add-ons – while they would pay an extra fee of €15m should the midfielder win the Ballon d'Or more than once.
Soler admitted that Gomes had not been planned for in the original budget, but that it was an important opportunity to take and it was "the best moment to sign him."
Club technical director Robert Fernandez added: "He is a player that has quality, youth and strength and who will help us amplify the centre of the park. "He has time to demonstrate his qualities and has great potential. Andre was a long-term target and we had to win the fight [to sign him]."