Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand heaped praises for Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi after his splendid performance against The Red Devils.
Messi scored a brace to guide the Catalan giants through to the semifinals of the Champions League. Despite a dull performance in the first tie at Old Trafford, Messi came back stronger at Camp Nou and made United’s defence look pretty lousy.
Ferdinand pointed out the defensive errors in United’s game after the heartbreaking loss.
“We said before the game that if he decides to turn up and take the game by the scruff of the neck then he can do it and he’s done that. Saying that it was two mistakes from Manchester United. Ashley Young, there will be disappointed – he didn’t clear the ball – but after that, it’s all about Messi,” Ferdinand told BT Sports.
Former English legend also analyzed how Messi destroyed United tactics to stop him.
“The nutmeg on Fred and the finish. Precision finishing there. It was devastating how clinical he was.’”[For the second goal] Again Fred is in the mix there, he should just get rid of it.
With the win, Barcelona broke the jinx of their past two seasons two get eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.
Messi also ended his goal drought in the quarters of UCL since 2013.
After not managing a single shot on target in the first leg at Old Trafford, United looked a lot more dangerous going forward early in the first half. But after Marcus Rashford hit the crossbar within 30 seconds of the clash, Messi took over with his tournament-leading ninth and 10th goals of the season.
Far from shying away from contact with the opponents, Messi initiated it with his defense to set an example for his teammates when they were caught off-guard after kickoff.
After the win, Messi said “The image (we gave) was spectacular. This is who we are,” Messi said. “I was fortunate the first went in, I struck it hard and just inside the post. I needed a little more luck on the second. The important thing is that we achieved our goal. We have taken one more step (to the title).”
In the semifinals, Barcelona will face the winner of Liverpool and Porto of tonight’s match to continue their journey in the tournament.