'Messi always gets us out of trouble' - Valverde

'Messi always gets us out of trouble' - Valverde

Thirteen of those strikes have come in his last nine appearances against English sides at Camp Nou, including hat-tricks v Arsenal (April 2010) and Manchester City (October 2016).

Marcus Rashford struck the crossbar for the visitors in the second minute at the Nou Camp but Messi scored twice in the space of five minutes later in the first half to put Barca at ease.

The Argentine then pounced on another lapse from United's defence four minutes later to win back possession high up the pitch and fire a shot from outside the box, which squirmed under visiting keeper David de Gea.

Smalling's stray shoulder caught Lionel Messi in the face in the first leg tie and left the Argentinian attacker with a bloody nose and a blood clot on his eyelid.

Barcelona started the game very slowly and could have been punished in the opening minutes, yet United could not capitalise.

But United's early pressure almost turned to despair when the referee pointed to the spot and awarded Barcelona a penalty for Fred's challenge on Ivan Rakitic. He then turned Phil Jones inside out on the stroke of half-time to release Jordi Alba.

Sergi Roberto at the far post only for De Gea to redeem himself with a fantastic save.

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Despite having the bonus of an away goal, Barca goalkeeper, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, said he and his teammates have to maintain their focus.

It was a miserable return to the Nou Camp for United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who scored the victor 20 years ago as the club beat Bayern Munich to win the Champions League and clinch the Treble. Barcelona or Manchester United battle Liverpool or Porto in the Champions League semifinals.

There was joy for Lionel Messi and anguish for Cristiano Ronaldo as Barcelona progressed to the semi-finals of the Champions League at the expense of Manchester United while Juventus were knocked out by Ajax.

'This Barcelona team are the level we have to aspire to. I've said all along this isn't going to change overnight and the next few years are going to be massive for us to get to the level where Barcelona and other teams are at the moment.

United's Jesse Lingard also hailed Barca superstar Messi.

"Lionel Messi brought his A-game tonight, he's one of the best in the world".

"All we can do is move on, it's a big week ahead".