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La Liga is back. And while Ronald Koeman and his team are getting into gear for the game against Villarreal at Camp Nou (Sunday, 9.00pm CEST), we take a look back at how Barça fared on the opening day of seasons past. Very well indeed, as it happens, with nine wins in the last ten openers:
2010/11: Racing 0-3 Barça
29-08-2010. A solid start to the season at El Sardinero with goals from Leo Messi, Andrés Iniesta and David Villa.
2011/12: Barça 5-0 Villarreal
29-08-2011. After the first weekend’s fixtures had been postponed due to a players’ strike, Barça started the season with a thumping victory against the same side they’re meeting first this season. The goals came courtesy of Thiago, Cesc, Alexis and Leo Messi (2).
2012/13: Barça 5-1 Real Sociedad
19-08-2012. Another five-goal start at Camp Nou with Carles Puyol, Messi (2), Villa and Pedro finding the net in the first league game under Tito Vilanova.
2013/14: Barça 7-0 Levante
18-08-2013. And the year after, Barça won by an even more astonishing margin. Tata Martino couldn’t have dreamed of a better start than this, with the goals scored by Messi (2), Pedro (2), Alexis, Dani Alves and Xavi Hernández.
2014/15: Barça 3-0 Elche
24-08-2014. For the fourth year in a row, Leo Messi scored twice in Barça’s opening game. Munir got the other one as the Luis Enrique era got off on the right foot, and that was despite an early red card for Mascherano.
2015/16: Athletic Club 0-1 Barça
23-08-2015. Barça started on the road this time, at the brand new San Mamés in Bilbao. And they took all three points yet again, but in much tighter fashion, with Luis Suárez claiming the only goal.
2016/17: Barça 6-2 Betis
20-08-2016. Back to big opening day wins here, as Luis Suárez scored three, Leo Messi got two Arda Turan the other, with Rubén Castro getting two for the visitors.
2017/18: Barça 2-0 Betis
20-08-2017. Another new manager, Ernesto Valverde, and another three points early doors, thanks to an own goal from Tosca and a second from Sergi Roberto.
2018/19: Barça 3-0 Alavés
18-08-2018. The Camp Nou was again the stage and yet again, Leo Messi scored not once but twice! Philippe Coutinho got the other.
2019/20: Athletic Club 1-0 Barça
16-08-2019. Last season brought the only opening day loss for Barça in the last decade. San Mamés was the venue, and the Catalans were missing a number of key players for a game decided by Aritz Aduriz right at the very end.
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