Lionel Messi scored within three minutes of returning to action for the first time in more than three weeks to help fire La Liga champions Barcelona to a resounding 4-0 home win over Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday.
Brazilian midfielder Rafinha put Barca ahead in the 21st minute with the help of lax goalkeeping from Deportivo’s German Lux and slid in the second in the 36th after the stopper failed to hold Gerard Pique’s header.
uis Suarez combined with Neymar to stretch Barca’s lead two minutes before the break and substitute Messi latched on to a through ball from the Brazilian to stroke the ball high into the net in the 58th. The Argentine maestro had replaced Sergio Busquets moments earlier to the delight of the Nou Camp faithful, also taking the captain’s armband from his team mate.
Messi looked fully recovered from the groin injury he had sustained against Atletico Madrid last month and is expected to return to the starting lineup for Wednesday’s mouthwatering Champions League game against former coach Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.