Lionel Messi was once again his mercurial self in Barcelona’s opening league fixture against Deportivo Alaves at the Camp Nou.
Both goals proved stunning in terms of importance and quality, Messi-esque in every sense of it.
Messi once again created history on Saturday night in front of over 50,000 Camp Nou faithfuls netting the club’s 6000th La Liga goal courtesy a spectacular free-kick routine.
The goal marked another piece of history for La pulga making him the only player to have scored in 15 consecutive La Liga campaigns in the 21st century.
Following a disappointing world cup collapse with the Argentine national team there had been skepticism surrounding the Argentine’s performance with Barcelona this season with some suggestions about if he would be inspired enough to return to his magical self with the Blaugrana after what is thought to be his last chance to lift the coveted World Cup trophy.
A superb performance in the Spanish Super cup where he bagged one assist and a fine display against Boca Juniors in the traditional Joan Gamper cup where he registered a goal have doused those tensions.
Returning to familiar grounds for the start of the 2018-2019 league campaign, Messi once again proved to be Barcelona’s protagonist against Alaves as he will be throughout this season.
The 31-year old is showing no signs of slowing down rather he seems to be getting closer to perfection if already he is not.
Lionel Messi took up the responsibility of orchestrating play as he has always done but this time around without assistance from the cerebral Andres Iniesta and the maestro’s replacement Philippe Coutinho – at least for the first half.
Barcelona dominated proceedings throughout the first-half as Jordi Alba, Ousmane Dembele, Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi combined to great effect but only devasting they could not get a goal despite coming close on numerous occassions.
The second-half resumed in similar fashion with Coutinho replacing Nelson Semedo to add extra firepower to Barcelona’s front-line.
Persistence paid off for the League champions as the opener came few minutes past the hour mark off an iconic left-foot.
Lionel Messi hit the woodwork from a curling free-kick in the first-half and when presented a similar opportunity in the second-half, he went for the extraordinary – hitting a shot under the jumping wall to take Barcelona’s La Liga goal tally to six-thousand(6,000).
Philippe Coutinho twisted and turned before rifling a second behind Fernando Pacheco with less than ten minutes left to play taking the game beyond the reach of an Alaves side that failed to threaten in attack.
Messi would go on to seal a phenomenal display with a brace, scoring from the last kick of the game after Suarez set him up with a nice over-the-top pass.
Messi’s first goal means he has now scored Barcelona’s 5000th and 6000th La Liga goals in 2009 and 2018 respectively. God Save The King!!