Messi Scores, Fati Nets Prepare For Barcelona
To Crush Pummel Villareall
In The Opening Of The Spanish League
Lionel Messi scored a penalty when Ronald Koeman’s era as Barcelona manager began with a comfortable La Liga win over Villarreal.
Ansu Fati was the outstanding player of the match and scored the first two goals for Barça, with a first shot from a ball by Jordi Alba and then a low shot from a pass from Philippe Coutinho.
He also won the penalty that Messi scored.
Barça had finished the game at halftime when Pau Torres turned Messi’s center into his own goal. Unai Emery’s Villarreal offered little opposition, and his only shot on goal came in the last minute.
Messi is the sixth player to score a goal in 17 different La Liga seasons, joining Real Madrid Sergio Ramos, who joined that club on Saturday. It was Messi’s first game since he tried to leave his only club in the summer.
Messi, 33, submitted a transfer request, claiming he was allowed to leave for free due to a clause in his contract, but Barca said he could not leave for less than 700 million euros.
He reluctantly announced that he would stay because no team would pay that price and he did not want to take the club to court.
He started in the middle but played right and left in a flexible front line. He had a total of seven shots in the game, forcing Sergio Asenjo to make three saves and his penalty goal.
Koeman replaced Quique Setien, who was fired after Barça failed to win the league and then lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
Coutinho, who scored twice in that match for Bayern, returned to Barça’s starting lineup after returning from a loan.
Summer signings Miralem Pjanic, Francisco Trincao and Pedri debuted in the second half.