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Messi. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

Leo Messi continues to make history, but he never loses sight of what’s important: the team. “The important thing is the team’s victory. After the 0-3 we had to control the match and retain possession,” he said. Barça’s number 10 also praised his team’s defensive performance at Luzhniki Stadium: “We’ve conceded goals in past games and we needed to keep a clean sheet tonight.” Messi, who equalled Van Nistelrooy as the second highest scorer in the history of the Champions League, added: “We knew that we had to win tonight and everything went perfectly, it was all very complicated; the pitch, the rival, the conditions ...”

Here are the statements made by FC Barcelona players after the match:

Dani Alves:

“I’m very pleased with my performance because I’m playing at the team’s level. All the players are scoring goals, hard work pays off. I’m sticking with how well we adapted to a cold pitch. This is a well-deserved victory.

“We knew that they would pressure us, but our desire and will to qualify for the next round now and not wait for the last game at home earned us the win.

“We played really well going forward and we put in a good defensive performance, but the important thing is how the whole team played.

“Sometimes we’re exposed at the back when we all attack at the same time, but we defended their counterattacks well ... we did a pretty good job.

“It’s been a while since we’ve kept a clean sheet and we’re happy that we managed to do that tonight, I’m especially pleased for Víctor. We’ve scored on both goals before, and luckily tonight we only scored on the right one.”

Pedro:

“Leo is breaking all the records, he’s spectacular, impressive; it’s a pleasure to have him with us.

“We managed to secure a good victory, it allows us to close out the group and make it to the next round.

“We know that each match is different, tonight we scored early, more goals came after that and we were able to play our brand of football.

“I feel great, I wasn’t lucky in front of goal, but I’m sure they’ll come eventually.

“The cold wasn’t noticeable on the pitch, the turf was in good condition because they watered it before the match. The ball did bounce a bit differently but all in all the pitch was in good condition.”

Gerard Deulofeu:

“I’m pleased that I got to play, I need to keep on working so I can get another chance.

“You always have that hope that you’ll be named to the team and get to play, I’m very pleased.

“I always try to give it my all. I hope things continue to work out like this.

“We had to win the three points to qualify for the next round and that’s exactly what we managed to do.”

Iniesta:

“I’m pleased with game we played, the goals, how we played and that we qualified for the next round - hopefully we can go through as group leaders.

“The pitch didn’t affect our play, the turf was in good condition, the only difference was that the ball bounced differently. We adapted well, and we pressured them high up the pitch; we played our style of football.

“We had the chance to qualify and we took it. We failed away to Celtic but we reached our objective tonight. Having the last game at home with a spot in the next round secured is important.”

Additional post-match reactions:

Additional post-match reactions from FC Barcleona players, here.


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