Juventus ‘built a mountain’ to keep us out, says Gerard Pique after Barcelona’s European exit

Gerard Pique said Juventus “built a mountain” as the Italian side claimed a 0-0 draw at Camp Nou to keep Barcelona quiet for 180 minutes across two legs, and knock them out of the Champions League. The centre-half, who was hugely magnanimous about Max Allegri’s side and cited them as likely winners of the competition, also expressed his pride at the home fans singing despite what was a “hard defeat”.

Barca missed a series of chances on the night, but still never really made Juventus feel uncomfortable.

“Juventus are a great team, and were the better team over the tie. I wish them the best until the final, I believe they can win it. We played our game, and at the start created chances, but they built a mountain. It was a result that was very difficult to turn around and it wasn’t to be. They are Italians and know how to defend well, they are specialists in this. They came to play their football and they succeeded.

“This is a hard defeat, but the support singing like that tonight deserves to be recorded. It’s one of the few times I’ve seen the Camp Nou like this after a defeat. It fills me with pride and makes me emotional to see that despite having lost.”

Barca have now gone out at the quarter-final stage of the competition for the second successive season, fostering the feeling of an end of an era, especially with manager Luis Enrique’s impending departure at the end of the season. There is still the chance to close his reign with a league title, though, but it probably requires victory in a hugely consequential Clasico at Camp Nou on Sunday. Pique expressed optimism for that clash.

“We are human, of course something is going to affect us. On Sunday there’s another big match, and we’ll go there to compete and try and win. Even if we are not in our best moment, I believe we can go there and win.”