Lionel Messi scored a brilliant brace to help Barcelona beat AC Milan 4-0 and complete a historic comeback that took his side into the quarterfinals of the Champions League on Tuesday.
Barcelona won 4-2 on aggregate after a spectacular second leg in the last 16, entering the record books as the first team to turn around a 2-0 first-leg away loss in the competition.
“We started really fired up, as you have seen. The early goal helped us a lot, but it was something we looked for from the first minute,” goalscorer David Villa told Spanish television.
“We are delighted for the fans. We always believed we could do it. For them, and with them, we have done it”
“We believed we could do it from the first minute, in fact from the final whistle of the last game.
“We are delighted for the fans. We always believed we could do it. For them, and with them, we have done it.”
Barcelona imposed their attack from the start and Messi finished off a team move just five minutes in to give the hosts a huge boost of confidence.
Messi struck with another left-footed strike in the 40th to level the contest over two legs. And Barcelona’s relentless pressure paid off in the 55th when Villa netted the decisive goal before Jordi Alba added a fourth in stoppage time.
Barcelona join Galatasaray in the last eight after the Turkish side beat Schalke 3-2 on the night and 4-3 on aggregate.
Against the odds, Barcelona reached the quarters for a sixth straight season and kept alive their bid for a fourth title in eight years.
And Messi made sure they did so in style.
Messi moved past Ruud van Nistelrooy (56) into sole possession of second place on the Champions League career scoring list with 58 goals at just 25 years old, trailing only Raul Gonzalez’s 71.
The sluggish and tired Barcelona from the loss at San Siro three weeks ago and defeats to fierce rival Real Madrid was nowhere to be seen at Camp Nou on Tuesday night.
Barcelona put on yet another breathtaking display, the kind that has led it to 14 titles since 2008 and earned their place among the best teams to have played the game.
They went forward with orchestrated precision both in their passing and shot taking, and defended tenaciously, asphyxiating Milan’s attack before it could ever get started.
Few would have ruled Barcelona out of the tie before the match, and they proved why with a calm and controlled display.
In Germany, Hamit Altintop scored a stunning 30-metre goal to set Galatasaray on the way to a 3-2 win at Schalke 04 which sent them into the last eight.
Roman Neustaedter gave Schalke an early lead but Altintop pulled the Turkish side level in the 37th minute when he collected a free kick and scored with a shot which swerved away from Timo Hildebrand and went in off the foot of the post.
Burak Yilmaz stunned the hosts by putting Galatasaray ahead with a breakaway goal five minutes later, his eighth of the competition.
Michel Bastos levelled for Schalke 04 just after the hour but the Germans could not find the winner despite dominating the closing stages, with Umut Bulut snatching a win for Galatasaray in injury time.