No One Believes in Barcelona Anymore, But That Doesn't Bother Lionel Messi
Sep 10 2017
Barcelona's impressive Derbi Barceloni record continued with a 5-0 win over fellow Catalonian side Espanyol, a fixture they have lost only nine times since 1928 inside the Camp Nou, thanks to a sublime solo show from star-man Lionel Messi. Messi ran onto Rakitic's clipped ball and pulled back for Suarez at the byline, but the unbalanced No 9 swiped his volley over from a yard out. "A lot of my players have been more burdened [during the worldwide break] than Espanyol's".
With a squad that looks weaker than last season and most importantly, weaker than what Real Madrid have to offer, this season was always going to be about Messi, first and foremost.
Visiting Espanyol never looked like claiming anything from this local derby, with Barca in full control throughout as they totally outclassed their cross-town rivals. Suarez couldn't get the shot away, cuts it back for Messi, who makes no mistake in finishing past Lopez with a sweeping left foot finish.
There were some dicey moments for Valverde's men at the back but the Camp Nou faithful were able to lap up Ousmane Dembele's second half debut with the points safe, even if chants calling for the resignation of club president Josep Maria Bartomeu tempered a goal-laden finale.
It only took 10 minutes for Messi to bag his second, thanks to an assist from Jordi Alba.
Valverde has his whole squad available after the worldwide break aside from Ivan Rakitic, who sustained a hamstring injury while on duty with Croatia.
"They fought very hard, but we have players like Messi, who scored three goals, and Suarez, who gave everything, just like the rest of the team".