Gerard Pique hit out at critics of Barcelona following their miraculous Champions League comeback, singling out former coaches Arrigo Sacchi and Raymond Domenech.
On the verge of elimination in the round of 16 for the first time since 2007, Barca erased a 4-0 first-leg deficit as the Spanish giants stunned Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 on Wednesday to emerge 6-5 victors on aggregate.
Former AC Milan coach Sacchi claimed Barca had lost their style and principles following the rout in Paris last month, while ex-France boss Domenech said the LaLiga titleholders were a shadow of the team that have dominated Europe as he also criticised Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta.
After helping Barca complete the greatest fightback in the history of the Champions League, outspoken Spanish defender Pique did not hold back as he responded to the club’s doubters.
“It’s an historic feat which has never happened before,” Pique said. “The [comeback against] Gothenburg wasn’t this big, nor the Iniesta [goal against Chelsea] or Bakero’s in Kaiserslautern. This is the greatest. There is no comparison.
“There are a lot of people who’ve tried to bury us — coaches like Sacchi and Domenech.
“One day we will abdicate the thrown, but we’re still there.
“Those that didn’t want us to get through won’t have a good day, but the sun will be back up.”
There was pandemonium on the pitch and in the stands as Sergi Roberto netted the 95th-minute winner at Camp Nou.
Neymar had converted an 88th-minute free-kick and a penalty in the first minute of stoppage time after Edinson Cavani’s goal just past the hour-mark made it 3-1 on the night and left Barca needing three goals to advance to the quarter-finals.
“At 3-1 it was complicated, but then came the miracle. In the 87th minute, the fans could have left. But, no. They stuck with the team and it was worth the effort,” Pique said.
“I don’t want to put pressure on by talking about wanting to win a treble now. We’re the only team in this country that has ever been able to do this.”