Lionel Messi double powers Barcelona to victory over Alavés in opener

Adrien Rabiot

GETTY Barcelona have been eyeing Adrien Rabiot

Messi had also scored the club's 5000th league goal in 2009 and this was his 15th consecutive season scoring in Spain's top flight.

"We're lucky to be involved in football during the era in which he is playing - we want him to pull a rabbit from the hat every day".

"Messi never fails to surprise you", Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said.

"There's still room for Messi to surprise us", he added.

"I had no idea he was going to shoot like that, for us it's spectacular that he has such a range of options", Busquets said.

Even visiting coach Abelardo, a former Barca defender, was full of praise for Messi's performance. 64' - GOAL BARCELONA - Messi sneaks a free kick under the jumping wall and tucks it into the corner to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. "But as the minutes went by, we got better and better".

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The Iranian global was the top scorer in the Eredivisie last season and enjoyed an impressive World Cup for Team Melli. Marcos Rojo is another option, but the Argentina defender is still nursing an injury picked up at the World Cup.

Barcelona have failed to reach the past three Champions League finals, with their bitter rivals Real Madrid bringing home the goods, but the Catalan giants may lift the famous trophy in 2018/19 judging by this theory.

Mario Hermoso scored just before half time to put the visitors ahead but his central defensive partner David Lopez put through his own net in the second half.

Alba paid tribute to Messi post-match, claiming no player will ever replicate the 31-year-old.

Alaves, the last team to beat Barca at Camp Nou in La Liga, back in 2016, competed well in the first half and the game was still goalless at half-time.

The free kick goal was Barcelona's 6000th La Liga goal. They defended very well out there, they were very compact.

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