Athletic Bilbao defeated Barcelona 5-1 on aggregate for the Spanish Super Cup earlier this week.
Messi went for placement over power, and it didn’t work.
Barcelona will get a chance to avenge that humbling result come Sunday when it starts the Spanish league season at San Mames Stadium.
While Barcelona will be seeking revenge against the Basque Country upstarts, they’ll have to do it without Gerard Pique, who was hit with a four-game ban after insulting an assistant referee in the Super Cup second leg, telling the official, “I s**t on your whore mother”, according to the referee’s report.
The 23-year-old has been suffering from mumps and Barca boss Luis Enrique believes it could be some time until he is fully up to speed having missed the majority of pre-season.
As ever it seems as if the business carried out by Atletico is brilliant, ensuring another fine season and, given the likelihood of Barcelona not being as good as last season and Rafa Benitez not succeeding at Real Madrid, sights shouldn’t be set lower than another title challenge.
The Bilbao game will be Barca’s first outing since the exit of forward Pedro, who joined English Premier League champions Chelsea this week. After a troublesome begin to Luis Enrique’s reign, the mixing of Luis Suarez to type one of the devastating ahead trios ever seen helped hearth the Catalans to the Primera Division title, together with Champions League and Copa del Rey prizes.
Aleix Vidal, signed from Europa League winners Sevilla, is another that will have to wait his turn.
Sevilla, Atletico Madrid and Valencia are the usual suspects attempting to shake things up at the top. But the first month is free, and the subscription can be cancelled at any time.
Roberto was deputising in an unusual position at right-back after replacing the injured Dani Alves midway through the first-half, but his impressive showing continued as he smashed a shot off the bar from a narrow angle as Barcathreatened to double their advantage.
In Sunday’s late fixture, Borussia Monchengladbach suffered is now rooted to the bottom of the Bundesliga table after succumbing to a 2-1 home defeat against Mainz.
Marseille stormed to its first points of the season as it thrashed newly-promoted Troyes 6-0 in its first match under new coach Michel.
The BBC Sport website and app will continue to have live text commentaries on major La Liga matches this season, starting with Atletico Madrid v Las Palmas (19:30 KO on Saturday). We won both points and confidence. The opponets that they are facing gave them a royal thrashing less than a week ago through a 4-0 win at San Mames.
Lorient goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte was sent off after just 42 seconds for bringing down Nolan Roux just outside the area, when the Saint-Etienne striker was clean through on goal.