The central defender admitted that 'la Pulga' is key to his side's chances, but did not attribute Wednesday's punishing defeat to the Argentine's enforced absenceGerard Pique refused to blame the absence of Lionel Messi for Barcelona's 3-0 Champions League semi-final defeat to Bayern Munich.
The defender's own goal was sandwiched between strikes from Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller, as the Bavarians ran out 7-0 aggregate winners and set up an all-German final with Borussia Dortmund.
Messi played no part in the game, remaining an unused substitute following a recurrence of an old injury, but Pique believes the Argentine could have done little to turn the tie around.
"Messi is the best in the world. Obviously it's not the same without him on the pitch but I don't think things would have been so much different with him," he explained after the final whistle.
"It's not pleasant living a situation like this one. We tried in the first half but after the first goal we just fell apart. The last 45 minutes were so hard."
Barca president Sandro Rosell, meanwhile, highlighted Messi's absence from the second leg, while admitting that Bayern were superior.
"If the best player in the world is not on the pitch, the team is not the same but all players play hard and believed and we showed that Barcelona know how to win and how to lose. It's the coach who decides with the staff and the doctors. They take the decision and we just accept it," the chief explained.
"We have to congratulate Bayern. They were clearly the better team and deserve to be at the final in Wembley."