• Saturday, Dec 05, 2020
  • Last Update : 12:02 am

Messi scores in first game since transfer dispute

  • Published at 04:59 pm September 28th, 2020
Messi
Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action during their La Liga match against Villarreal in Barcelona Sunday

Barcelona's past, present and future were all among the goals on the same afternoon as Luis Suarez, whose departure was confirmed on Thursday

Lionel Messi scored in his first game since trying to leave Barcelona as Ronald Koeman began his tenure as coach by overseeing a 4-0 Liga demolition of Villarreal on Sunday. 

Messi converted from the spot 10 minutes before half-time and then the Argentine's cross forced Pau Torres into an own-goal, after an early double from the 17-year-old Ansu Fati had already put Barca in charge.

It meant Barcelona's past, present and future were all among the goals on the same afternoon as Luis Suarez, whose departure was confirmed on Thursday, marked his Atletico Madrid debut by scoring twice in a 6-1 win over Granada. 

In a farewell message to his best friend and former neighbour last week, Messi took another swipe at the Barca board by saying he was not surprised by the clumsy way Suarez's exit had been handled. 

His complaints raised doubts about his state of mind heading into the season and at the end of a traumatic summer in which Barcelona's greatest ever player admitted he was being forced to stay against his will. 

Koeman insisted on Saturday that Messi had been "leading by example" in training and his confidence was repaid at Camp Nou, where the striker, and club-captain, delivered an excellent display. 

Messi's anger over Suarez shows he is still at odds with Barcelona's president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his long-term future remains uncertain, but on the pitch, he delivered. 

Victories and goals could encourage him to stay, not to mention the talented Fati, who on this evidence can be a huge asset for his captain's hopes of winning back the title. 


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