Jordi Roura, Barcelona’s assistant coach, praised Paris Saint-Germain for its brave performance at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night, and revealed that the coaching staff had made an agreement with injured forward Lionel Messi to only use him if his help was needed later in the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal second leg. Of course, Messi’s appearance in the 62nd minute proved to be instrumental in securing Barca’s passage to the semifinal, as his solo burst set up Pedro’s equalizer in the 71st minute. Though the series finished 3-3, Barca won thanks to having scored two away goals in Paris.
“We are very happy and proud of our team,” Roura told reporters after the 1-1 draw. “Tonight's game was very difficult -- we were playing against a great side. If we weren’t on our game during periods of the match it’s because our rival played well.”
He added: “We had an agreement with Lionel Messi and in the end this was put into practice. He is such an important player and his mere presence proved the key. We knew that he could play a determined amount of time and if the result wasn’t favorable, he would play.”
In an interview with Sky Sports, Barca defender Gerard Pique said that Messi changed the game. "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.” The former Manchester United player added: “He is our reference, he can score, he can pass, he can do everything and he helps us a lot.”