Barcelona defender Gerard Pique accepted Juventus were the better team in their Champions League tie and deserved to reach the semi-finals.
A 0-0 draw in Wednesday’s second leg at Camp Nou meant Juve progressed 3-0 on aggregate having recorded a stunning triumph in Turin last week.
The match ended Barca’s 15-game home winning streak in the competition and ensured Luis Enrique’s men fell one match short of equalling Bayern Munich’s record.
Pique acknowledges Barca had a mountain to climb as they tried to repeat their famous comeback against Paris Saint-Germain from the previous round and feels his team were second best.
“They are a great team and over two legs they were better than us – they deserved to reach the semi-finals,” Pique told BeIN Sports.
“I wish them the best going forward because I think they can win the tournament this season.
“We created several chances but we had such a difficult task. As time wore on, it became increasingly unlikely we would achieve our objective of overturning the result.
“They are Italians, they know how to defend well and they are specialists in that area. They came to play their style of football and did it very well.”
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) April 19, 2017
Barca fans sang and waved flags to show their support to the players in the closing stages of their defeat, a reaction that delighted Pique.
“I think this is a hard defeat to take but the fans were fantastic and they kept singing,” he said.
“They deserve to be recognised as it is one of the few times that I have seen the Camp Nou so proud in defeat.
“It makes me proud to be part of this club and emotional to see that even though we lost.”
Gràcies afició. Mai havia vist el Camp Nou reaccionar així després d’una eliminació. Orgull i emoció.
— Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) April 19, 2017
Pique also thanked the support on Twitter, writing: “Thank you fans. I have never seen Camp Nou react well to a defeat. Pride and emotion.”
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