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Apr 10, 2013

Pique: Messi can change everything

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique said even a half-fit Lionel Messi is capable of "changing everything" after the forward's introduction helped the Spaniards past Paris Saint-Germain and into to the Champions League last four.

• Johnson: PSG taught harsh lesson
• Delaney: Messi inspires Barcelona
• Press Pass: Barca's edge gone?

Tito Vilanova's side were trailing to Javier Pastore's second half goal when Messi was introduced despite suffering a hamstring injury in Paris during the first leg that ended 2-2.

And it was the Argentine's burst towards the penalty area that carved PSG open, allowing David Villa to tee up Pedro for the goal that sealed Barca's progress on the away goals rule.

"We are talking about the best player in the world. It doesn't matter if he is a little bit injured, he can change everything and he did again," Pique told Sky Sports.

"We are really lucky and really proud to have Leo on the team and we have to use him when we are struggling a little bit.

"We knew that for us to have Leo on the pitch was really important. He is our reference, he can score he can pass, he can do everything and he helps us a lot.

"If you have him you have to use him and try to use the best part of him and he helped us a lot."

Barca's victory secured their sixth successive semi-final appearances in Europe's premier club competition and Pique says he has no preference who they get in the final four.

He added: "This club has shown a lot of quality in the last six years. We deserve to be in the semi-finals for one more year. It was really tough and really difficult because they are a strong team, with good quality.

"We are really happy to have qualified for the semi-finals. I don't care who we play, the most important part is to be there. The German teams are really strong and Madrid is one of the best in history.

"It will be tough, but we are in the semi-finals and you expect this when you arrive here."

PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti believes his side deserved to progress to the semi-finals after a valiant effort in both legs, although he admits the positive results will give the club greater confidence in Europe.

"Its hard to be eliminated after what we did tonight," Ancelotti told Canal+. "We were a little timid in the first leg and the result [2-2] was not good. But after tonight's game, while we feel regret, we also feel pride. We are proud because we did everything possible to win.

"We played well - didn't just defend - and that is why I want to thank all the players. We were so close to winning this game. This could have been a fantastic night for us."

Defender Christophe Jallet was pleased with PSG's determination and has said giving Barca a tough challenge to advance is an achievement in itself.

"We gave it everything tonight," he told uefa.com. "We didn't fear them and we played our game. We caused them trouble from the off and I think they were nervous and not far from going out."

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