Pique hails Barca star Messi after magical performance against PSG
Gerard Pique lauded his Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi after the injured Argentinean handed in a match-winning performance against Paris Saint-Germain at the Nou Camp on Wednesday. The half-fit Lionel Messi was placed on the bench because of a hamstring injury, but was eventually called upon when Barcelona went down 1-0 to Paris Saint-Germain.
Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova was forced to introduce Lionel Messi near to the hour mark after Javier Pastore’s second-half goal put his side on the back-foot. With the first-leg of the quarterfinal battle between Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain ending at 2-2, Javier Pastore’s goal could see Barcelona exit from the Champions League if Pedro’s goal hadn’t arrived.
Lionel Messi was at the heart of Barcelona’s move that saved them from a humiliating defeat and granted them access to the Champions League semifinals. The Argentina international blazed towards the penalty area before cutting down two defenders and passing the ball to David Villa, who setup Pedro for the crucial equalizer.
“We are talking about the best player in the world. It doesn't matter if he is a little bit injured, he can change everything and he did again,” Gerard Pique told Sky Sports. “We are really lucky and really proud to have Leo on the team and we have to use him when we are struggling a little bit.
“We knew that for us to have Leo on the pitch was really important. He is our reference, he can score he can pass, he can do everything and he helps us a lot. If you have him you have to use him and try to use the best part of him and he helped us a lot.”
Barcelona’s victory confirmed their sixth successive appearance in the Champions League semifinal. Gerard Pique admits Paris Saint-Germain produced “good quality” football and it was hard to overcome them. The Spaniard claims he has no preference which teams take the other three semifinal spot in the Champions League.
“This club has shown a lot of quality in the last six years,” Gerard Pique said. “We deserve to be in the semi-finals for one more year. It was really tough and really difficult because they are a strong team, with good quality.
“We are really happy to have qualified for the semi-finals. I don't care who we play, the most important part is to be there. The German teams are really strong and Madrid is one of the best in history.
“It will be tough, but we are in the semi-finals and you expect this when you arrive here.”