Champions League

Messi not to blame for defeat

Fabregas and Alves also insist there is no individual blame

Lionel Messi: The Argentine missed a penalty as holders Barcelona were dumped out

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Lionel Messi is not to blame for Barcelona crashing out of the Champions League to Chelsea, according to club president Sandro Rosell.

First-half goals from Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta looked to be enough to overturn their 1-0 semi-final first-leg defeat and see Barcelona through.

But a Ramires strike just before the break and then another from Fernando Torres wrapped up an unlikely Chelsea aggregate win, with Messi guilty of missing a penalty and hitting the post as Barcelona wasted their opportunities.

But Rosell refused to point the finger at the Argentine and instead expressed his great pride in the way they played.

"I do not think Barca has been knocked out by Messi's penalty," he said. "After 180 minutes, we had many chances and they took three of theirs. That's what happened.

"The way we play is taught in la Masia (Barcelona's training ground) and is not going to change. Football is a game. Sometimes you win and sometimes not. We win and lose.

Painful

"I think every time we've had a setback this season it has been unfair, but opposing teams play well against us and we must accept it.

"Despite failing to qualify for the final and having had a bad week, the fans have been supporting us. I am very proud of them. I'm not happy with the result, but I am proud."

Former Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas agreed, instead blaming the first-leg defeat in London for them being knocked out of the competition

"It's a painful way to go out because we were superior," he told the club's official website. "The result in Stamford Bridge is what did us in.

"We played a great game, we dominated and we created a lot of chances. We didn't sacrifice our style. It's painful to be eliminated this way, seeing that we had a lot of chances to score."

Dani Alves echoed his team-mate's sentiments, adding: "We tried in every way, but the approach they took, playing ultra-defensively, worked well. We had opportunities to take the tie forward and we failed."

Which was the best Champions League comeback?

  • Man Utd v Bayern Munich - 1999 final
  • Liverpool v AC Milan - 2005 final
  • Barcelona v Chelsea - 2012 semi final

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