Barcelona resolved the Champions League tie in relatively comfortable fashion against Manchester City at the Camp Nou, although the English side did have their moments, including a penalty from Sergio Agüero that was saved by Ter Stegen in the second half.
The Catalan side could have enjoyed a higher score, striking the post twice and undoubtedly denied by the heroics of City keeper, Joe Hart, who made a string of wonderful saves to deny Messi several times, along with Neymar and Luis Suárez, genuinely the last line of defence for the visitors.
However, not even a wonderful display from Joe Hart could deny Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who scored the winner on the night with a clever finish, sealing a 1-0 result and 3-1 on aggregate.
Speaking with Spanish broadcasters after the game, Rakitic enthused about what had been an exciting, action-packed duel between the two sides, as he offered his analysis of the game.
"I think we've perhaps deserved at least another goal, but the fans here have enjoyed the game, they've seen a great game today, a great Barcelona."
Mindful that the next challenge awaiting is this weekend's much anticipated Clásico with Real Madrid in La Liga, Rakitic insisted, "We've had a great game tonight, now we're facing another great game. We'll enjoy this victory tonight, although now we're thinking about our next game on Sunday. The most beautiful is yet to come and we want to enjoy it."
Despite having beaten the Manchester City shot-stopper with his decisive finish, Rakitic sportingly acknowledged what was an outstanding performance from Joe Hart, telling Spanish television, "I have to congratulate the Manchester City goalkeeper. He's a great 'keeper and today he's really demonstrated that."
Pleased with the performance and the outcome, Rakitic added, "In general I think we've done a very good job tonight. We enjoyed ourselves out there on the pitch and what matters most is we got the win. Now we'll going looking for more."
Finally, Rakitic couldn't hold back the eulogies for his team-mate Lionel Messi, following another magical display from the Argentine star.
"He's amazing, incredible, you can't put it into enough words... We don't know what else we can say about him now, but I think even the Manchester City players must have enjoyed watching Messi play."
Manchester City players may not entirely agree with those sentiments, but there's no denying that despite Messi not scoring, he was truly in stellar form and the only man able to stop the phenomenal Barcelona player... You've guessed it, that man Joe Hart.