Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta has said Lionel Messi was the difference between his side and Barcelona on Wednesday evening.
The Catalan side proved too good for the reigning Premier League champions in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Lionel Messi scoring an impressive double and French attacker Ousmane Dembele getting on the score sheet.
The scoreline somewhat flattered Barca, who were tested by Antonio Conte’s side over two legs, and Spanish centre-back Azpilicueta has opened up about the performance and his disappointment at not stopping the Argentine forward score.
“It was Messi who made the difference, as he scored three goals in two games,” Azpilicueta told reporters after the match.
“It is clear he was decisive in the tie with his quality in front of goal and of course from our point of view, that is disappointing.
“I think our team tried the best we could do but ultimately we were not able to score any goals.”
Barca will now be in the draw for the Champions League quarter-final on Friday morning, joining Real Madrid and Sevilla as the other two Spanish sides left in the competition.
Valverde’s side will now prepare for the weekend fixture with Athletic Club at the Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon, where they will be looking to improve on their impressive lead at the top of the La Liga table.
Barca will likely be without Sergio Busquets, who suffered a toe injury in the game against Chelsea and forced off the field.
Chelsea meanwhile, will now focus on improving their Premier League standing, sitting fifth at present, five points behind Liverpool.