Lionel Messi scored a sublime brace and was at the center of most things good for Barcelona as the home side dismantled Manchester United 3-0 at the Nou Camp.
According to Manchester United legend and BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand, Messi’s performance was revenge against Chris Smalling after getting roughed up by the center back at Old Trafford.
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. After that, he was a shadow of himself and didn’t affect the game much.
However, Messi turned that around spectacularly at the Nou Camp with 2 goals – albeit one due to a uncharacteristic howler from David de Gea.
‘Smalling hit Messi like a truck’ – Valverde on Barcelona star
“[Chris Smalling] ruffled his feathers in the first leg and it was a revenge mission in this second leg here,” said Ferdinand of Messi’s showing.
“He [Messi] put on a clinic, he was the heartbeat of this team, he is the heartbeat of this team.”
Manchester United ended up losing 4-0 on aggregate over the two legs, their largest margin of defeat in their storied European history. It was also the first time they had lost 4 away games on the trot after doing so in October of 1999, where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer featured as a player.