Lionel Messi marks return to the side with an instant goal, scoring immediately after coming on
LIONEL MESSI netted with his FIRST touch on his Barcelona return to send a chill down Pep Guardiola’s spine.
The Argentina superstar revved up to face Manchester City this Wednesday – and how!
After three weeks out with a groin injury Messi came on an hour into Barca’s rout of Deportivo.
Seconds later he struck a cracking first-time shot into the net after Neymar’s assist.
Overall Messi looks in tip-top shape and at his marauding best. He is now set to start against City.
Rafinha’s brace and Luis Suarez’s blast put Barca three up before the interval. Suarez also struck a post.
This was a much-improved performance from the Catalans after their shock 4-3 loss at Celta Vigo before the international break.
Ivan Rakitic was back from injury too and boss Luis Enrique rested Andres Iniesta.
They started in an unusual 3-4-3 formation and could easily have reached double figures as they swatted Deport away.
Their performance before and after Messi’s introduction certainly quashed any concerns over their form going into the City match.
Neymar hit the post with an eighth-minute shot before Suarez headed over the rebound from three yards out.
It came as no surprise when Rafinha opened the scoring after 21 minutes. He fought to win the ball off Fernando Navarro and Mosquera, played the one-two with Suarez before firing past keeper German Lux.
And then just after the half hour Rafinha made it as after Lux could only parry Pique’s header.
Pique was seemingly offside but ref Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez let it go.
Suarez made it three before the interval after an excellent assist from Neymar. The former Liverpool superstar also truck a post seconds later.
Given Barca’s unconvincing start to the season this looked the proverbial banana-skin.
In BOTH the last two seasons Depor had come back from two goals down to take a point here.
But in the wake of the clash with City this proved the perfect tonic for Barca and under-pressure boss Enrique.
It was a nightmare afternoon for Depor – who twice in the last two seasons had come back from two down to draw here at the Nou Camp.
This time though Barca obliterated them. And it could have been worse. After Messi’s strike, Depor skipper Laure was rightly sent off for elbowing Neymar in the face and then Jeremy Mathieu had a good goal wrongly disallowed for offside.