Barcelona were embarrassed by Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinal, but the addition of Lionel Messi would not have made a difference.
The Spanish club had an uphill battle in the second leg after falling behind 4-0 in the opening match. Making up this deficit is nearly impossible for anyone, although the odds are a lot better with the best goal-scorer in the world.
Unfortunately, Messi was unable to play due to an injured hamstring. The leg injury has been an issue since the quarterfinals against Paris Saint-Germain, although doctors had allowed him to continue competing.
He came on as a sub on Saturday and tallied a goal and an assist in a draw against Athletic Bilbao.
Still, Messi did not step onto the pitch in the UCL battle, which pretty much ended the team's hopes of advancing. However, the squad would have lost regardless.
In that first semifinal match, Bayern Munich played fantastic defense and barely allowed any scoring opportunities for their opponent.
Would Barcelona have won if Lionel Messi were healthy?
Messi played the entire time and was only able to get one shot off, and that was not even on net. The experienced German defense was fully aware of how to slow down the opposing offense and kept the ball away from the box.
This continued into the second leg, even with Barcelona being much more aggressive on the offensive end. The talented club knew it had nothing to lose, but it still could not get many good looks at the goal.
Bayern showed that they can remain disciplined with a big lead and they were not going to allow the match to get close. Borussia Dortmund almost blew a 4-1 advantage against Real Madrid in the other semifinal, but the Bundesliga champs never caused any doubt.
Even if Messi had been in the lineup, he would have struggled to get the ball from the midfielders. If he did get a touch, he would be surrounded by too many defenders to get anything done.
This is the same squad that allowed only 14 goals in 31 league matches in Germany. One forward, regardless of how good he is, was not going to get four goals in this one. The fact that the lead rose to 7-0 made it impossible.
Barcelona fans will wonder "what if" for this Champions League season after watching the club's best player remain on the bench for the biggest match of the year. The positive news is that it did not matter, because Barcelona were doomed from the start.