The Joan Gamper trophy is traditionally a pre-season event in order to introduce supporters to the squad for the forthcoming season but on Wednesday evening, the star of Barcelona’s 3-2 victory over Sampdoria required no introduction.
Lionel Messi put his summer of disappointment with Argentina firmly behind him during a first half performance that dazzled spectators and proved too much for the Italian opposition.
Luis Suarez opened the scoring with a routine header but it was Messi’s acrobatic volleyed assist that caught the eye and it wasn’t long before the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was among the goals himself.
Messi latched onto Ivan Rakitic’s cross in acres of space and as he bore down on Viviano’s goal, the Italian goalkeeper wasn’t quite sure what to do, allowing the five-time Ballon d’Or winner to stroll around him and slot the ball into the net before shortly after scoring a second with a trademark free kick into the corner.
Messi’s match winning performance during the first half was before the gaze of new Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza, who is in Barcelona to speak to the recently retired icon and Javier Mascherano.
Bauza will not have needed reminding of Messi’s quality but watching in person will surely have whet his appetite further and made his determination to persuade a change of mind even greater.
Barcelona 3 -2 Sampdoria
For more on Barcelona’s win over Sampdoria visit MARCA’s English site.