FC Barcelona slammed Villarreal 4-0 in La Liga at Camp Nou on Sunday. Barca's new head coach Ronald Koeman couldn't have wanted any better start to his Spanish League campaign. More importantly, it was Lionel Messi who achieved another historic feat in La Liga.
Messi proved his worth to the club, as the opposition barely managed to stop the six-time Ballon d'Or winner from making attacking moves. The 33-year old Argentine is still the backbone for the Spanish giants, and even Koeman noticed that on Sunday.
Messi started the game in the centre but as the game went deeper, the Argentine's versatility was noticeable as he kept playing on the right and left in a flexible front line. He took seven shots during the game and forced Villarreal goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo to make three desperate saves.
In the process, Messi became only the sixth player in La Liga's history to score a goal in 17 different seasons. A couple of days ago, Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos joined that unique club as the fifth player to have ever scored in so many seasons.
This marked Messi's first match for Barcelona since he had disclosed his wish to leave the Catalan side this summer. Last month, following the recruitment of Koeman as Barca's new coach, Messi had submitted a transfer request stating that he wanted to leave his club for free.
However, Barca was adamant about not letting him go. Instead, the club clarified that he could only leave if his 700 million euro (GBP 632.90 million) transfer fee is paid in full. After weeks of drama, finally, Messi decided to stay at Camp Nou and scored in his first match of the season. The Barca skipper was engaged throughout the match and never showed any signs of discontent.
According to Give Me Sport, after scoring on Sunday, Messi raised his fist and flexed his arm, similar to a gesture Suarez performs after scoring. Last week, Barca released Luis Suarez, following which Messi posted an emotional message on Instagram. It's clear that the Argentine wasn't happy by the way Suarez was treated.
Barcelona was up 4-0 even before the referee blew the half-time whistle. But the hosts didn't play as aggressively in the second half as they did during the first 45 minutes.
Ansu Fati was also outstanding with the ball. He scored the first two goals of the match. In the 15th minute, Fati netted the ball from Jordi Alba's pass. Four minutes later, the 17-year old Spaniard once again put his name on the scorecard as he converted Philippe Coutinho's pass into the second goal of the night for him and his club.
Fati was once again in the spotlight as he won a penalty for the Catalans. Messi took the shot and converted it into a third goal for his side. On the verge of half-time, Messi's cross got deflected by Pau Torres and found the net.