United had overcome a two-goal deficit at Paris St Germain last month but Messi’s first-half brace and a wonder strike from Philippe Coutinho ushered Barcelona towards a 3-0 victory, 4-0 on aggregate, at the ground of one of the Premier League side’s greatest triumphs.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was insistent that the 1999 Champions League final win over Bayern Munich would have no bearing on this quarter-final second leg and his remarks proved accurate.
While his side made an energetic start, with Marcus Rashford denied by the goal frame within seconds of kick-off, Barcelona became more proactive and Messi, as he so often has done in the past, took top billing.
The 31-year-old five-time Ballon d’Or winner was largely subdued in Barcelona’s 1-0 victory at Old Trafford last Wednesday and had his nose bloodied after being caught unintentionally by Chris Smalling’s flailing arm.
But he doubled Barcelona’s advantage with a left-footed strike from the edge of the area that has so often become his hallmark, although his second strike arrived following a major blunder from United goalkeeper David De Gea.
There was nothing the United goalkeeper could do to stop Coutinho just after the hour mark, though, as Barcelona – after three last-eight exits in as many seasons – booked a semi-final showdown against either Liverpool or Porto.
For United, who were looking to reach the last four in this competition for the first time since 2011, their attentions now turn to the Premier League and a battle to finish in the top four.
- Barcelona have qualified for the Champions League semi-final for the first time since the 2014-15 campaign under Luis Enrique.
- Manchester United have been eliminated at the Champions League quarter-final stage on seven occasions – more than any other side.
- Barcelona’s Lionel Messi scored his first Champions League quarter-final goals since April 2013 versus PSG, ending a run of 12 matches and 50 shots without a goal in quarter-final matches.
- This was Manchester United’s heaviest ever aggregate defeat (0-4) in a two-legged European tie; their previous heaviest was 2-5 vs Milan in the 1957-58 European Cup semi-final and 1-4 vs Atletico Madrid in the Last 16 of the 1991-92 Cup Winners’ Cup.
- Manchester United have lost four consecutive away matches in all competitions for the first time since October 1999 – current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær featured in all four of those 1999 defeats.
- Lionel Messi has scored 45 goals in all competitions for Barcelona this season – 10 more than any other player in the top five European leagues.
- Manchester United lost five Champions League matches this season, their joint-most in a single season (also five in 1996-97).
- Spanish teams have lost just one of their last 24 Champions League knockout matches against English sides (W16 D7 L1), with Leicester’s 2-0 win over Sevilla in March 2017 the only victory for an English team in that time.
- Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored twice as many Champions League goals against English sides as any other player (24 goals).