Sergio Busquets pays tribute to Lionel Messi

Sergio Busquets pays tribute to Lionel Messi

Nine years ago, the maestro scored the club's 5,000th La Liga goal and here he is again, breaking records and producing jaw-dropping statistics.

Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona got their La Liga title defence off to a winning start with a deserved, hard-fought victory over Alaves.

Messi's low free kick fooled Alaves' players, who jumped to intercept an expected high shot.

Argentina interim coach Lionel Scaloni has explained why he made a decision to leave out FC Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi for next month's global friendlies. As good as Messi was, it's slightly worrying from a Barcelona perspective that the team still seems so dependent on him despite spending almost half a billion dollars on players since Neymar's departure.

Barcelona were awarded a free kick and the club captain stepped up and hit the ball under the Alaves wall and went in to make it 1-0 for last season's La Liga winners.

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Otherwise, for us it is maybe a problem. "I hope we will be able to play 90 minutes like the first 25 in two months". Clubs can still sell players, but not sign new ones anymore.

Barcelona had missed chance after chance in its league debut at Camp Nou, which was far from packed with around 52,000 fans for the 10:15 p.m. start local time.

The Argentina star swept in a clever free-kick midway through the second half before Philippe Coutinho netted a fine second, with Messi doubling his tally late on to secure all three points for Ernesto Valverde's side.

Celta Vigo were held to a 1-1 draw by Espanyol, while on Friday Levante pulled off a surprise 3-0 win at Real Betis.

Gerard Moreno, Villarreal's biggest off-season signing, put the hosts ahead in the 16th before Sociedad came back with goals by Willian Jose in the 40th and Juanmi in the 71st. The Uruguayan was a main culprit in Messi putting in one of the best passing performances you'll see all season but still ending up with zero assists to his name. He has that capacity to score a goal at any moment of the game. Atletico Madrid visit Valencia on Monday (19:00 BST).

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