Lionel Messi lived up to his billing as the best player in the world with four goals to destroy Arsenal’s Champions League dream, on this day in 2010.
Messi was in inspirational form at the Nou Camp as Barca came from behind to progress to the semi-finals by wining 4-1 on the night and 6-3 on aggregate.
Nicklas Bendtner had stunned the Spanish giants with an 18th-minute opener to put Arsene Wenger’s Gunners ahead for the first time in the tie following a 2-2 first-leg draw at the Emirates Stadium.
But the Premier League side could not contain mesmerising Messi, who completed a stunning first-half hat-trick with a delightful lob before rounding things off late on.
Arsenal boss Wenger compared the Argentina forward – who was then aged 22 – to a computer creation.
“He’s like a PlayStation,” said the Frenchman. “I think he can take advantage of every mistake you make.
“Barcelona are a very good side but of course they have Messi who can make the difference at any moment in the game.
“He is very young but he can achieve a lot – there are not many players who can score four goals like he did.”
Barcelona suffered a semi-final defeat to Jose Mourinho’s Inter Milan, who went on to lift the trophy after beating Bayern Munich 2-0 in the final.
Seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi scored a record 672 goals in 778 games for Barca and lifted 35 trophies with the Catalan club before leaving last summer to join French giants Paris St Germain.
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