Andre Gomes admits he is enduring sporting “hell” at Barcelona after struggling to justify a €35 million transfer fee.
A big-money deal, which includes another €20m in add-ons, took the Portugal international midfielder to Camp Nou in the summer of 2016.
Gomes has, however, flopped among Barca’s sea of stars, with the 24-year-old conceding that he is no longer enjoying his football following a wave of criticism and added pressure.
He told Spanish publication Panenka: “I don't feel well on the field, I am not enjoying the thing I like to do.
“The first six months were pretty good but then things changed.
“Maybe it's not the correct word but it turned into a bit of a hell, because I started to feel more pressure. With pressure I feel fine, but with pressure on myself, I don't. The feeling that I have during games is bad.”
Gomes added on pressure following him from the field and into training: “In the sessions, I am calm. I feel comfortable with my teammates.
“Obviously there are days that I feel a little low on confidence, and in training it is noticeable.
“Maybe I played the day before and I still have the image of the game in my head, and that doesn't let me move forward.”
Amid his struggles, Gomes has become the subject of terrace taunts, with jeers from the stands leading to him becoming a recluse.
He added: “On more than one occasion, I didn't want to leave my house. Because people look at you, having the fear of going on the street out of shame.
“My friends tell me I am going with the handbrake on. I close myself off. I don't take the frustration I have out. Then I don't talk to anybody, I don't bother anyone. It is like I feel ashamed.
“Thinking too much has hurt me. I think about the bad things and what I have to do. Although my team-mates help me a lot, the things don't work out the way they want them to work out.”