Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has admitted he is still hurt by the club's humiliating exit from this season's Champions League, where the club threw away a 3-0 semifinal first leg lead against Liverpool in an incredible night at Anfield.
Two goals apiece from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum gave Liverpool the 4-0 victory they required to progress to the final in Madrid, while Messi and his teammates were left distraught at another capitulation in Europe's elite competition.
Barcelona also lost a three-goal advantage in the European Cup last season, going out to Roma on away goals having won the first leg 4-1 at the Camp Nou, and the Argentina international has admitted that this year's loss has greatly affected himself and the rest of the squad.
Quoted by the Liverpool Echo speaking ahead of Barca's Copa del Rey final against Valencia on Saturday, Messi said: "It was a really big blow which we received at Anfield - me and all the dressing room felt it.
"It was tough to get back up, you saw that in the next game we had to play. It was a really tough blow. Now [we] have the chance to win a double and end the season on a high note."
Despite having the opportunity to lead his side to consecutive domestic doubles, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde is risk of losing his job due to the club's lack of success in the Champions League during his reign.
Messi added: "I haven't seen much of the criticism of the manager, and sincerely I think Valverde has done an impressive job all the time he's been here. In the game against Liverpool he was hardly to blame for anything. We as the players are to blame."
That remarkable defeat means the 31-year-old will be forced to watch on as their semifinal conquerers take on English rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the final at the Wanda Metropolitano on June 1, with the Reds looking to win the sixth European Cup title in their history.