Messi’s third son was born on Saturday, and was also the reason why the Argentine was left out of the squad that secured a 2-0 win at Malaga.
Barca will host Antonio Conte‘s side on Wednesday with a slight advantage – an away goal scored by Messi himself as the aggregate stands at 1-1.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 12, 2018
Andre Gomes has had a torrid time at Barcelona ever since his move from Valencia in mid-2016.
The Portugal midfielder, despite the faith shown in him by bosses past and present Luis Enrique and Ernesto Valverde, has come under criticism by the fans at the Camp Nou.
But for the first time, Gomes has opened up about the pressure he feels with the Blaugrana shirt on his back in a revealing interview with Panenka.
“I do not feel good in the field, I’m not enjoying what I can do,” the 24-year-old confesses.
He added: “The first six months were pretty good, but then things changed. Maybe the word is not the most correct but it became a bit of hell, because I started to have more pressure.”
Gomes then goes onto admit that his problem is a mental thing more than anything else.
“With the pressure I live well, with what I do not live well is with the pressure for myself,” he said.
“Thinking too much has hurt me. I think about the bad things and what I have to do. Although my colleagues give me enough support, things do not come out as they want them to come out.”
After hearing Gomes being jeered by the Camp Nou crowd in a recent game, Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was seen angrily yelling in reaction.
The pressure of being labelled a flop has been tough for Gomes to take. He admitted: “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.”
Ernesto Valverde had recently dismissed talk of a return for the Brazilian as ‘fantasy’, but Rakitic clearly doesn’t see things the same way.
The Croatian midfielder would gladly welcome Neymar back to the fold at Barcelona despite his €222 million sale to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer.
“He has not told me anything, but if it’s up to me, I would open the door right now,” Rakitic told reporters after the 2-0 win over Malaga in La Liga on Saturday.
“Not only because of the relationship I have with him, but because of the type of player he is.
“I would always put Ney on my team.”
Barcelona were able to secure the victory away to Malaga without star man Lionel Messi who was at the hospital for the birth of his third child.
Rakitic was pleased for his team-mate and looks forward to having him back for the Champions League clash against Chelsea in midweek.
“The last few seasons we have had a bad time here,” he said. “I think we were very superior but now we can prepare for what is coming.”
“I hope the kid and the family are fine and Messi comes back soon, we need him,” Rakitic added.
“Chelsea will be very difficult, and the fans know we have to be together.
“We want to make history together, but they can hurt us at any time.”