Reunited trident shines in Champions League opener
A Messi hat-trick, a free-kick from Neymar Jr and a brace from Luis Suárez sees star trio return in style
It had been three months since Messi, Suárez and Neymar Jr had played together, but you would never have guessed. The trio shone in their first match side by side in 115 days, helping FC Barcelona to their biggest ever Champions League win, a 7-0 victory over Celtic at the Camp Nou.
It took just three minutes for Messi to get things going after he was played through by Neymar. It was a sign of things to come as the Argentine would go on to score his first hat-trick of the campaign, his sixth ever in the Champions League, a feat which makes him the player with the most hat-tricks in the history of the competition.
Aside from just scoring goals however, Messi is renowned for his role in the creation of attacks, and it was on clear display against Celtic. The mercurial no.10 combined well with Neymar to make it 2-0, before setting up Suárez for the game’s final strike. Neymar showed his team ethic by making four assists on the night, as well as scoring a delightful free-kick early in the second half. Suárez showed his predatory instincts once more by grabbing two typical striker’s goals.
His first was again from a Neymar assist, as he chested the ball in the area before hitting a ripe volley on the turn. His second was a simpler task, diverting Messi’s low pass into the far corner to put the icing on the cake.
Since the three joined forces in 2014/15, they have been responsible for 50 of Barça’s 56 Champions League goals, a statistic that underlines their importance and value to the side.