La Liga Review: Messi Stars As Barcelona Begin Title Defence With Victory

Argentine superstar Lionel Messi was in phenomenal form as he helped Barcelona overcome stubborn Alaves at the Nou Camp on Saturday night.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner had struck the post twice for the Catalan giants before he netted a brace to lead the team to a 3-0 win over lowly Alaves.

He broke the deadlock on 64 minutes with a well taken low freekick for his club’s 6,000th league goal.

The famed La Masia Academy product had also scored the 5,000th league goal eight years ago.

Messi accounted for 6.4% of the goals between the two landmark strikes.

Substitute Philippe Coutinho added a second goal before captain fantastic Messi wrapped up the win in added time to send his team to joint top alongside Levante, who defeated their hosts Real Betis 3-0 on Friday night.

In the earlier games on Saturday, Willian Jose and Juanmi scored either side of halftime to overturn Gerard Moreno’s opener for Villarreal and lead Real Sociedad to a 2-1 win away from home, while Celta Vigo could only settle for a 1-1 home draw with Catalan outfit Espanyol.

Former Arsenal playmaker Santi Cazorla played his first competitive match for almost two years as he started and featured for 73 minutes in the colours of Villareal during the home loss to Real Sociedad.