Mallorca 0-4 Barcelona: Leo Messi still at the old normal

Arturo Vidal opened the scoring after 65 seconds and that sent Barca on their way

Los jugadores del Barça celebran el gol de Braithwaite
Los jugadores del Barça celebran el gol de Braithwaite | EFE

We said Barcelona were aiming to come out of the blocks quickly but didn’t imagine it would be at this speed.

Rik Sharma

@riksharma_

MATCH FACTS

LaLiga Santander

MLL

0-4

FCB

RCD Mallorca

Reina (c), Sastre (Gámez, 45), Raíllo, Valjent, Pozo, Pedraza (Baba, 56'), Dani Rodríguez, Salva Sevilla (Salibur, 84') Kubo, Cucho Hernández (Lago Junior, 45') y Budimir (Abdón Prats, 84').

FC Barcelona

Ter Stegen, Sergi Roberto (Semedo, 71'), Piqué, Araujo, Jordi Alba, Busquets (Arthur, 71'), Arturo Vidal (Rakitic, 45'), De Jong (Junior, 85') Messi, Griezmann (Luis Suárez, 56') y Braithwaite.

Goles

0-1, min. 2: Arturo Vidal, de cabeza, a pase de Jordi Alba. 0-2, min. 37: Braithwaite remata un balón muerto desde el punto de penalti. 0-3, min. 79: Jordi Alba aprovecha un pase al espacio de Messi para batir a Reina.

Árbitro

Del Cerro Grande (comité madrileño). Amonestó con cartulina amarilla a Arturo Vidal (min. 43), Jordi Alba (min. 73), Dani Rodríguez (min. 85). 0-4, min. 90+4: Messi, con la derecha, desde el punto de penalti.

Incidencias

Partido correspondiente a la jornada 28 de LaLiga Santander, disputado en el estadio 'Visit Mallorca' a puerta cerrada por la pandemia del coronavirus. Se guardó un minuto de silencio por las víctimas de la pandemia.

In barely over a minute Arturo Vidal scored the first goal of the new (mini)season, with Quique Setien’s side flexing their muscles and winning the first of an 11-game sprint to the finish line.

Lionel Messi, shaven, and not even his very best self - but who is, in 2020 after three months of confinement - produced two fine assists and added the fourth late on. The new normality may in fact be the old normality, where he is concerned.

The league leaders moved five points clear of Real Madrid at Son Moix, putting pressure on Zinedine Zidane’s challengers from the off, ahead of their clash with Eibar.

Luis Suarez started on the bench as Setien looked to ease him back into action, with Ronald Araujo preferred to Samuel Umtiti alongside Gerard Pique and Vidal picked ahead of Ivan Rakitic in midfield.

The Chilean had recently said he needs to feel important if he is to stay at Barca and instantly took the spotlight, heading home from Alba’s neat cross after fine work by Frenkie de Jong.

Mallorca, in a relegation scrap, weren't bad, with Take Kubo particularly threatening, but this game was only going one way from the start.

Martin Braithwaite scored his first Barcelona goal after 37 minutes, when Messi’s cute cushioned header fell for him to hammer home and double the Catalans’ lead.

Perhaps the most comforting sight of all was Messi’s lofted pass to Jordi Alba for the third goal, with the left-back breaking in and slotting home at the near post without any fuss.

Messi’s ball was that typical lofted pass which he loves to provide Alba with and even though everything is different, now, some things are still the same.

Suarez had some time to run around - he’s been waiting since his January knee operation to play, but didn’t get the goal he so obviously craved.

He did, however, tee up Messi for the fourth, with Mallorca’s defence standing off him like there’s a global pandemic or something, and the Argentine battering home with his right foot.

It was Messi’s 20th goal of the season in La Liga, as he pushes Barcelona towards what he hopes will be his 11th league title.

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