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Spain: Messi scores as Barcelona blanks Racing


MADRID (Reuters) -- Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and David Villa struck as La Liga champions Barcelona picked up where they finished off last season with a 3-0 win at Racing Santander on Sunday.

Messi, who grabbed a hat-trick in the Spanish Super Cup last weekend, only needed four minutes to rip open the defence and score with a delightful lob.

Iniesta followed up with a volley from outside the area and new signing Villa headed his first league goal in a Barca shirt, after Victor Valdes had saved a penalty before the break.

Pep Guardiola's side appeared unruffled by the contentious exit of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to AC Milan and laid down the marker for Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid, who open their campaign at Real Mallorca in the late game.

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Second division champions Real Sociedad celebrated their return to La Liga after a three-year absence with a 1-0 win at home to Villarreal.

Xavier Prieto raced on to Joseba Llorente's backheel to score after 57 minutes, making them the only promoted club to win in the opening round of matches.

Levante and Hercules were beaten on Saturday.

A double strike from Pablo Osvaldo helped Espanyol overcome Getafe 3-1 while the games between Deportivo Coruna and Real Zaragoza and Osasuna and Almeria ended 0-0.