"We badly wanted to win against this great team and I think it was a great spectacle for the fans in a fantastic stadium," Lionel Messi told UEFA.com after masterminding his side's 3-2 victory against fellow qualifiers AC Milan that guaranteed the UEFA Champions League holders will go into the round of 16 draw as Group H winners. Clarence Seedorf, however, remained upbeat in defeat.
Lionel Messi, Barcelona forward
It was a great match against a prestigious team. We finished top which was what we were looking for. It was nice to score my first goal against an Italian team but the important thing was to win and we did that against a side with excellent players.
, which is better for us. We badly wanted to win against this great team and I think it was a great spectacle for the fans in a fantastic stadium.
It was crucial to win tonight as it makes the draw for the round of 16 slightly easier, in theory
Xavi Hernández, Barcelona midfielder
It was a great victory against one of the most famous sides in Europe and the whole team put in a huge effort to win because Milan refused to lie down.
The first goal was definitely an own goal. I was waiting at the far post to tuck it in and he put it in while trying to clear. The coach decided to play three at the back to give us an extra man in midfield and to control the possession in midfield and create chances – I think we managed to do that quite effectively.
I dedicate my goal, the victory and all the positive energy this result brings to [assistant coach] Tito [Vilanova, who is in hospital]. He is very highly thought of at the club and I send my best wishes to him and his family.
Clarence Seedorf, Milan midfielder
It was a fun match to play in and it was entertaining for the fans too.
I think it was a close game that either team could have won and one which was played in the right spirit. We lost but we put on a performance that will give us belief going forward.
Barcelona are not the yardstick by which we measure ourselves. We are our own yardstick and we have shown that we have the quality and the players to do well in the Champions League this year.
Gianluca Zambrotta, Milan defender
We knew we were playing one of the best sides in the world at the moment, so I think we did really well. We drew 2-2 at their place but played better in this 3-2 defeat and caused a great team a lot of problems.
Tonight there wasn't such a gulf between the sides. They leave gaps at the back which we exploited but they obviously have a phenomenal attack so they were always going to create chances. We did too and it was an excellent match. If we play as well tonight in the next stage of the competition we'll be a match for anyone.
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