While they might have beaten Manchester City in their Last of 16 match, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi was all praises for the team, particularly the efforts made by goalkeeper Joe Hart, whom he described as “phenomenal”.
“Joe Hart had an absolutely fantastic game,” Messi told in an interview by UEFA.com. “I already knew he was a top keeper, but it was impressive in this performance how he just stopped everything that came his way, with either his hands or his body – he is a phenomenon.”
Messi further added, “The opposition was full of great players and both teams just try to play really good, open football. Both City and Barcelona wanted to be on the ball, to do things with it, and it ended up as a pretty spectacular game.”
It was not only Messi who gave praise to Hart’s work. “Hart was key to keeping them in it and was great in one-on-one situations. He was outstanding,” said Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta of the goalkeeper.
While his team wasn’t able to score any goal during the second leg, Hart proved effective in preventing Barcelona from scoring additional goals after Ivan Rakitic managed to sink the game’s only point. Hart was able to stave off several of Messi’s attempts at a goal later in the game.
After hearing Messi’s praise, Hart graciously returned the compliment, stating that he was honoured to have been able to pit his skills against the Argentine.
When asked about his thoughts on his team landing a quarterfinals slot, Messi said “The fortunate thing, given all that, was we managed to get through the tie, which was all we wanted, so that we could be in Friday’s quarter-final draw.”
“These nights are just so tremendous to play in and wonderful for the public to watch, especially when the game is played like this,” he added.