Cristian Gamboa has opened up on his Celtic struggles after a fruitless three years at Parkhead.
Gamboa managed to become a part of history with the invincibles of 2017 and the treble-treble success of last year. However, the impact he made individually was almost non-existent.
The Costa Rican right-back only managed 31 appearances in three full campaigns with the club (Transfermarkt). That’s despite initially looking like becoming our number one right back when he arrived from West Brom in the summer of 2016.
However, speaking in comments published by the Scottish Sun, Gamboa revealed a falling out with Brendan Rodgers would ultimately be his downfall.
“I spent a year and a half at West Brom trying to get into the first team and then an opportunity arrived for me at Celtic. Brendan Rodgers signed me and at first I was playing a lot of games, but then I wasn’t playing as much and my minutes on the park decreased until I was hardly even in the squad.
“So I went to see Brendan Rodgers. I wanted to talk to him and ask him why I wasn’t involved as much, but he took it very badly indeed. He did not like me challenging him at all. It got worse because I got an offer from New York City in the MLS and they offered me everything I asked for.
“I was all set to go with my family, but on the last day, the negotiations collapsed. From then on I felt like I was always fighting with the club. The manager and president at Celtic both didn’t like it that I didn’t take up the offer from America. My agent was also fighting with the club too and I felt like I was stuck in the middle of it.”
Bizarre reaction from Rodgers
This seems, if true, a rather petty move from Rodgers. There are two sides to every story of course, but there’s no real reason for Gamboa to lie about this. He gets no benefit from it.
On the other side, it seems a bit peculiar that Rodgers would suddenly explode when questioned on why Gamboa was out of the picture. Then again, Gamboa says that Rodgers didn’t like him “challenging” him. That suggests any meeting between the pair was a lot more than just a simple question from the right-back.
Gamboa, who’s been capped 77 times by Costa Rica (Transfermarkt), also apparently could’ve moved to New York City. That would’ve been a cracking move for him at the time. In the end, however, he went to VFL Bochum in Germany when his Parkhead deal expired last summer.
It’s clear from these comments that Gamboa was never in an ideal situation at Celtic since the argument. In his second campaign with the club, he only managed three appearances. That was 18 outings less than his first campaign in 2016/17. He did manage to play on seven occasions in his final campaign, but that still wasn’t enough (Transfermarkt).
Regardless, the international defender still managed to leave Celtic with a host of winner’s medals. For that he’ll surely be grateful.
It’s just a shame Gamboa never really hit the heights we all hoped when he first arrived.