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Messi doubles as Barca cruise past Juve in Champions League

Barcelona-Lionel-Messi

Lionel Messi completed a brace as Barcelona opened their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 thrashing of last season’s runners-up Juventus at Camp Nou.

Messi made sure the hosts were ahead just before the break when he slotted home after a brilliant two-man game with Luis Suarez.

Ivan Rakitic doubled the lead in the 56th minute when he was at the right place to get to Messi’s blocked shot and convert it with a left-footed effort.

Messi then bagged his doubled when he unleashed a 20-yard, left-footed effort that went past Gianluigi Buffon.

“With Leo Messi, the feeling you have is that something good will always happen for us,” said Barca boss Ernesto Valverde.

“The first goal just before the break changed everything,” added Valverde of Messi. “We were about to finish the first half and we had some problems because the rival was making it difficult for us. Nobody saw the gap and he found it.”

Messi not only helped Barca bring down the Italian giants, he also took a monkey off his back as he scored his first goal against Juve’s and Italy’s famed keeper Buffon.

Messi has now scored against 27 different clubs in the Champions League, behind only three players. Former Real Madrid icon Raul has scored against 33 different clubs, current Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has scored against 31, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored against 29.

Second in Group D are Sporting CP, who defeated Olympiakos 2-0.

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Juventus are still adapting defensively after the surprise exit of defender Leandro Bonucci, and it was evident with how easily Barca threatened to score throughout the match.

Last season, when their three-man backline was still intact, Juve held Barca scoreless over two legs in the Champions League quarter-final.

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