Philippe Coutinho claims Barcelona would welcome Neymar back from PSG with open arms

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Echoing the words of his teammate Ivan Rakitic, Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho has said Neymar would be welcomed back with open arms at Barcelona if he decides to return.

Neymar left the Catalan giants last summer for a record move to Paris Saint-Germain, who forked out €222 million on Coutinho’s fellow Brazilian. But rumours have surfaced claiming the forward is already regretting his decision.

Speaking at the presentation of the Mediterranean International Cup, compatriot Coutinho, who has since replaced Neymar at Camp Nou, said: “With Neymar, that’s life, but I have the same feelings as Rakitic.

“He is a great player. I play with him for the international team and it is a real privilege. It would be great if he came back and of course we would open the door to that.”

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Sergio Busquets says Lionel Messi is 'at home' at Barcelona and Premier League move would be 'difficult'

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There has been speculation that Messi could reunite with Pep Guardiola.

Lionel Messi will never leave Barcelona as he is perfectly at home, team-mate Sergio Busquets said on Tuesday.

Messi’s first goal in nine games against Chelsea in last month’s Champions League last-16 first leg gives Barca a slender advantage ahead of Wednesday’s return at the Nou Camp.

Asked whether he can imagine Messi being prised away from Barca by a Premier League club, Busquets said the Argentina playmaker has few reasons to leave.

“I think he feels at home here,” Busquets said. “When you feel at home with all the things you have here – this is a big club, with good players next to you, you win different trophies, this is a good project, economically he’s doing well.

“All of this is positive. It’s difficult to find this in other places.

“We know the Premier League is a spectacular league. We would like to play there, but if you take all the positives and all the negatives, it’s very difficult to leave Barcelona.

“If you feel at home and you’re from Barcelona it’s difficult to change.

“To see him moving to another side, given all that, is very difficult. Getting out of here is difficult for most of us because we have everything.”

Messi last week became a father for a third time, missing the win at Malaga last Saturday as a result.

Busquets expects the Argentina playmaker will thrive against the Blues.

He said: “He’s going to be OK and more motivated than he usually is. He’s going to be more relaxed.

“I hope he’s going to be perfect and will play as he usually plays. He always makes the difference.”

Busquets added that Barcelona would settle for a goalless draw to advance to the last eight – and is wary of the Blues scoring.

“We don’t want to speculate, although 0-0 would be a good result. If they score we will be really suffering for that.”

Manager Ernesto Valverde knows Chelsea’s counter-attacking ability, with players like Eden Hazard and Willian, means Barca must capitalise on any dominant spells.

He said: “We will try to find a secret formula. I don’t think we have it, but just to keep working, keep pushing, keep trying.

Willian punished Barcelona on the counter in the first leg.

Willian punished Barcelona on the counter in the first leg.

“(But) it’s a double-edged sword. We cannot be on top of them for the whole match, because the last season they were the team with the best counter attack in the Premier League.”

Willian scored in the first leg and has five goals in five games. Valverde knows the Brazilian is a danger for Barca.

“He’s been playing really great with Chelsea,” he said.

“He’s finding the back of the net easily. He’s a player we have to take into account. When players of that quality are on a good streak they can score easily.”

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Barcelona to make late call on Andres Iniesta ahead of Chelsea clash

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Andres Iniesta is a fitness doubt for Barcelona's game against Chelsea.

Barcelona will make a late decision on whether captain Andres Iniesta is fit to face Chelsea in the Champions League on Wednesday, coach Ernesto Valverde has confirmed.

Iniesta sustained a hamstring injury against Atletico Madrid on March 4 but the midfielder took part in a light training session on Monday ahead of the last-16 second leg at the Camp Nou. The first leg finished 1-1.

“It’s clear when a match like this arrives, a player tends to risk,” Valverde said on Tuesday.

“What we have to decide is whether the risk is excessive.

“He played a big part of the training session yesterday without a problem. We’ll see how he feels today and decide.

“It’s a very important game. It’s down to the player. It’s a game you can only play if you’re 100 per cent.”

Iniesta could be replaced by Paulinho in the starting line-up but the Spaniard’s absence would represent a major blow to his team’s hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

“We know what Andres brings to the team, not only on the pitch but as a captain,” Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets said.

“You give him the ball and he always knows what he has to do to create chances. Everything that he contributes is postive. He is training and we hope he plays.”

Lionel Messi, however, is available again, after the Argentinian missed Saturday’s win at Malaga to attend the birth of his son, Ciro.

“He will be fine,” Busquets said. “In fact he will be more motivated than what we are used to and physically he is going to be great, after having an extra game’s rest. I hope that this is perfect.”

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