Barcelona's stars came out to play in the Champions League, with Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta starring vs. Celtic at Camp Nou.
Barcelona's stars came out to play in the Champions League, with Lionel Messi, Neymar, Luis Suarez and Andres Iniesta starring in a clinic vs. Celtic at Camp Nou.
Messi scored a hat trick, Neymar assisted on four goals and scored on a wondrous free kick of his own, Iniesta delivered a gorgeous volley and Luis Suarez displayed flawless technique in a volley of his own in the 7-0 rout that opened the club's 2016-17 Champions League group campaign.
Celtic provided Messi with ample space in the box after he was played through by Neymar in the third minute, and Barcelona seized control with the early strike.
Messi struck for his second goal in the 27th minute, with Neymar again playing the role of set-up man. This finish was even easier than the first, with Messi just tapping in for a 2-0 lead. It came moments after Celtic squandered a chance to pull even, with Old Firm hat trick hero Moussa Dembele having a penalty kick saved after he drew the PK on Barcelona goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen.
Messi completed his hat trick with Barcelona's fifth goal, sliding in the box to one-time home a cross from Luis Suarez that was earmarked for Neymar a few yards out from goal.
Messi is now seven goals behind Cristiano Ronaldo for the all–time Champions League record, with 86 career tallies in the competition. The hat trick was his sixth in Champions League play, passing Ronaldo for that record.
His goals did nothing to detract from Neymar, Iniesta and Suarez, who delivered their own highlight-reel efforts:
Suarez then capped the scoring with his second of the night, redirecting Messi's cross to make it 7-0.
Barcelona is in Group C with Celtic, Borussia Monchengladbach and Manchester City. Monchengladbach's match with Manchester City was postponed due to weather conditions.
Barcelona was eliminated in the quarterfinals of last year's Champions League by Atletico Madrid.