Manchester United legend praises City star's season-best performance

Even Lionel Messi couldn't find a way to get past Joe Hart last night.

Joe Hart was in outstanding form for Manchester City on Wednesday night. Although he couldn't prevent Barcelona winning 1-0 in Spain, and 3-1 on aggregate, to send the last remaining English club out of the Champions League, Hart's performance drew praise from former rivals and opposition managers alike.

The English number one has had a couple of blips in recent seasons, being dropped at times after spells of poor form form at City for both Costel Pantilimon and Willy Caballero, but away to Barcelona he proved once more that he is one of the top goalkeepers in the world.

Hart made an unprecedented 10 saves to keep the scoreline from getting away from Manuel Pellegrini's men, a figure that is more than any other goalkeeper has managed this season in the Champions League. Barca had 23 shots, 11 of which were on target, with only Ivan Rakitic's first half lob finding its way past the former Shrewsbury Town graduate.

The England international had a phenomenal game at the Camp Nou, while he had also been an important player for City in the first leg at the Etihad, saving Lionel Messi's penalty at the death and helping his side hold on to a sliver of hope ahead of the second leg.

His performance drew all manner of compliments from footballing figures. Barca boss Luis Enrique told Sky Sports he was surprised at the number of chances his side got but gave due credit to Hart, while ex Manchester United star Rio Ferdinand, now at QPR, paid tribute to his former England colleague by saying the 27-year-old 'stopped a mauling.'

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