Iniesta supplied the assist for Messi to score. PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB

  • Neymar: 10 goals in 10 games. Could we have asked for a better return from the Brazilian? He’s proving magnificent at finding the target under pressure and he and Messi between them are tearing defences apart. The Argentinian has set Neymar up for exactly half of his goals this season, including a wonderful assist tonight. At his press conference, Neymar said he wanted to score against both Ajax and Real Madrid. That’s half the job already done.

  • Pressure: Barça put so much pressure on Ajax in the first half that the Dutch side barely crossed the halfway line. With Bartra and Piqué threading the ball out to the midfield, Rakitic and Mascherano using their physicality to perfection and the three strikers working as a unit, two goals in 23 minutes meant they could go in at half-time in a very comfortable position indeed.

  • Iniesta: In his 101st Champions League appearance, he was a worthy captain. He led the playmaking and connected well with the men in front of him. The finest example was his assist to Messi for the second goal. In the 38th minute he almost scored a beauty but Cilessen managed to get his fingertips onto the ball, and he got a well-deserved ovation when he was substituted.

  • Ter Stegen: The goalkeeper was buoyed by the supporters from the very first minute. Although very little came at him in the air, Ter Stegen had plenty of chances to show that with the ball at his feet he’s practically a sweeper and the first line of the Barça attack. The accuracy of his long passes was especially impressive and there was nothing he could so about the Ajax goal.

  • Substitutions: With just four days to go before the Clásico, Luis Enrique decided he could rest Messi, Neymar and Iniesta, sending on Sandro, Rafinha and Munir instead. The three youngsters all made contributions, and Sandro even got the goal that settled the result. It was especially important for Rafinha to get his first run-out since September 17 against APOEL.