Undoubtedly the star of this Valencia side, Goncalo Guedes is enjoying his best season at Los Che, at least in terms of statistics.
With 11 goals and 6 assists in La Liga, Guedes has been the shining light of the Valencia attack. He has been directly involved in 39% of their league goals this season and it was his howitzer from distance that put Valencia through to the final.
Speaking to Diario AS ahead of the Copa del Rey final, Guedes opened up on his career up to this point. At the age of 20, he left Lisbon to join Paris Saint-Germain for a fee of €30m.
“It was all very quick. At the age I had it was difficult to assimilate things. I was at Benfica for two years and when I least expected it, in the January market, I went to Paris. I found it very difficult to adapt. I didn’t have a good time with the language.”
After some tricky months in the French capital, Guedes recovered his form in a loan spell with Valencia. In 2019, he would make that move permanent for €40m.
“But then suddenly Valencia appeared, I feel very good here, I adapted better, I made a good group of friends, with the city. I had to go back, I knew that Valencia wanted me, it was a question of waiting until they came to an agreement.”
“I think of now and I realise that I was a child, now I have experience.”
Moving to more current matters, Guedes was asked about the fact it’s his best goalscoring season with Los Che and what that was down to.
“Position matters, of course. Now I am inside the area more, before I used to play on the wing more, now in the middle. And it’s something I did very little of and now I am getting into the area more, I am closer to goal.”
Previous manager Javi Gracia was replaced by Jose Bordalas in the summer and Guedes agreed that he was the manager who had given him the most freedom.
“In terms of position, yes, because I can be where I want. On the right, on the left. I feel very comfortable. Yes, he is the manager that has liberated me most in that sense. It’s good for me.”
A now notable anecdote is that in Guedes’ first training session with Bordalas, the new coach could be heard shouting ‘Goncalo, finish the play’.
“Yes. From the first day Bordalas has asked me to shoot more. It was also on my mind, finishing more. Now I look for goal more often, I have more confidence shooting. Things are going well for me.”