The Gunners suffered a very public lesson in devastating football when they were humbled 4-1 by Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night to end their dreams of Champions League glory for yet another season.
Magic Messi scored all four of Barcelona's goals to again further his claims to be included among the very best names to have played the game.
Despair: Mikael Silvestre (left) and Thomas Vermaelen look on at Lionel Messi hammers home Barcelona's opening goal at the Nou Camp on Tuesday
Arsenal's stunned players admitted they were mesmerised by the brilliance of Messi but insist their season is not over as they chase their one remaining hope of silverare - the Premier League title.
Theo Walcott, who set up Nicklas Bendtner for Arsenal's shock opener before Messi ran the show, said: 'It is disappointing to go out after getting that early goal, but times you just have to sit back and admire it, because it was fantastic.
'The next five minutes after scoring are crucial and we just could not hang on, in the end, they blew us away. Lionel Messi is probably the only player on the planet who could have scored goals like that. It is one of those nights where we have to learn from our mistakes.
VIDEO: Wenger on Messi magic.'It is about holding on to those crucial goals and not giving them the opportunity to score. But there is no point dwelling on it, it is all in the past, we have got to move on and concentrate on the Premier League.'
Walcott, whose side face north London rivals Tottenham next Wednesday, added: 'It is a great experience for us, we now have to look forward to the game against Spurs on Wednesday and have to come right back because we have still got the Premier League to have a shout at.
Delight: Messi grabbed all four goals in a sensational performance
That's mine: Messi demands the match ball from ref Wolfgang Stark
'Tottenham away is a very big game - we just have to try and bounce back from this disappointment.'
Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, who could not be blamed for any of Messi's goals, praised the incredible impact of the Argentina forward.
He said: 'Messi is a brilliant player and the team in general are outstanding. Barcelona were very good and the best team in this game - but we played better than in the first leg.
'I tried to anticipate what he was going to do but he has a lot of skills and can do whatever he wants at any moment. It is difficult to stop those kind of players. He is the best player I've ever faced - I think he is the best in the world.
'We are footballers and have a lot of time to recover. Now we must focus on the Premier League and keep going in the next game against Spurs.'
Bendtner, who also struck the post with a header on a frustrating night for the Gunners, said: 'We made a great start and it was very important in the five minutes after we scored that we were tight.
'But in the end, if you look at the whole game they were a better team and deserved to win. Messi scored four fantastic goals and is a phenomenal player in a great team. At the moment, I would say he is the best player in the world.
'It is easy to make up excuses but, on the day, with what happened they were a better team than us. I would rather get beaten by a better team, to be able to say we did what we could, rather than be robbed in the last minute.'
Bacary Sagna said: 'It think they are one of the best teams I have ever played against. They showed they are top class. I think they will go to the final.'
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