Philippe Coutinho played in his first Champions League match for Barcelona this evening after being ineligible towards the second half of last season following his transfer from Liverpool, and the Brazilian playmaker thrived on his debut.
Then three goals arrived in 15 minutes.
If the World Cup proved anything, however, it is that Messi can not do it alone and Barcelona Messi will need others to shine if they are to end their Champions League hiatus.
Messi's goals were his 101th, 102nd and 103rd in the Champions League, second only to former Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo all-time. The first for dissent after a foul on the halfway line and the second for a cynical block on the flying Lozano with Barcelona three goals up.
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Dembele used a nifty move to get past two defenders before making a run toward the goal and striking his long-range shot into the far corner. Last year, Barcelona's rival, Real Madrid, captured its third straight Champions League title and fourth in five seasons.
An early kick-off at Camp Nou meant that before most of the tournament's teams had even named their line-ups, Messi was up and running, his sumptuous free-kick from the edge of the area nestling in the top corner, exactly where it was intended.
"Messi makes the extraordinary routine", said Barca coach Ernesto Valverde, whose side had Samuel Umtiti sent off late on.
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From there, he fitted a pass in between two Packers defenders for Adam Thielen and an incredible touchdown to make it 29-27. If Cook missed any time, Latavius Murray is likely going to be his placeholder atop the Vikings' running back depth chart.
Teammate Ivan Rakitic joked that it's reached the point where he is already thinking about the goal celebration when Messi lines up a dead ball. Barcelona's European campaign is off to the flawless start.
"Leo is the best in the world. We haven't won it in a few years but we have the players and we are hungry to go out there and win it".
Last season, Messi added to Barcelona's 6-1 demolition of Girona by slotting a free kick under the defensive wall.
PSV Eindhoven coach Mark van Bommel insists there's no reason for panic after their thrashing by Barcelona. Thankfully, no fans were seriously injured despite the vicious violence, although measurements must be put in place so that we do not see these scenes in the Champions League again.
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