Lionel Messi has said that while Barcelona are not safely through to the next Champions League round, winning at Manchester City was a big step.
Messi scored the game’s opening goal from the penalty spot before Dani Alves added a second to give Barca a comfortable victory. The return leg is played on March 12.
“We’ve taken an important step, with the two away goals,” Messi told reporters after the final whistle.
“They have a great team and Kun Aguero will be back for the second leg and it’s not decided yet.
“We played a great game against a team that is dangerous. They have very good players.”
Some observers have accused Messi of losing his passion for the game in recent weeks and although Messi rejected the suggestion that his performance was a rebuttal to his critics, he did say neither he nor Barca have anything to prove.
“I don’t know why people say that,” Messi said.
“I have nothing to prove. It was a good game for us and we have nothing to prove.
“We did well. Little by little, I feel better. I feel good when we move the ball from one side to another.”
The penalty award was controversial with City feeling the foul by Martin Demichelis on Messi was outside the penalty area, but Messi chose to stay above the fray.
“There’s always talk about referees. It’s natural. There are things to say,” he said.