Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

Lionel Messi 8, Ansu Fati 9: Barcelona player ratings v Villarreal

Coach Ronald Koeman opens his Barca tenure with crushing win

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

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 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.

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 the departure of 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.

Assessing the individual performances from the game, Nick Judd provides his Barcelona player ratings in the photo gallery above. To move on to the next slide, click on the arrows, or if using a mobile device, simply swipe.

Updated: September 28, 2020 07:41 AM