Lionel Messi's passing was absolutely outstanding in Barca's 3-0 win over Alaves

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Lionel Messi kicked off a new era in his career yesterday evening as Barcelona's official captain.

And in a coincidence that can just about be construed as symbolic of the new era, the game against Alaves saw Barca register their 6000th La Liga goal.

No prizes for guessing who put it in the net; Messi drilled a freekick low, under the wall in the second half - a freekick that he himself had won with a trademark run.

It's significant that Messi was the one to score the goal, too, as he'd also scored the 5000th back in 2009.

That nine-year gap between landmarks is quite incredible - it had taken 13 years between the last two - but it's understandably short when you consider the Argentine's figures during that period.

Of those 1000 goals, Messi scored 337 and registered another 125 assists, meaning he was involved in 462 - a simply ridiculous record.

Basically, Messi is incredible. That's not exactly news to anyone but even after all these years, seeing him in action is a sight to behold.

And when he wasn't making history against Alaves, he was showing that he's not just a legendary goalscorer - he's also arguably the greatest playmaker around.

Some of the passes Messi made were breathtaking, even if none of his teammates were able to convert their chances.

You can check out Messi's playmaking below:

He could have easily picked up three or four assists on another day; if only his teammates could finish like he can.

But the passes were merely the showpiece of Messi's performance. He had a brilliant game regardless, regularly showing why he's one of the all-time greats.

You can see Messi's highlights here:

But the 31-year-old wasn't the only one to take the plaudits against Alaves, as Philippe Coutinho wrapped up the points with a trademark goal.

The Brazilian weaved in between two defenders before curling it past the goalkeeper to make it 2-0 late on.

As you can see right here:

Messi wouldn't leave it there, however, adding a third very late on to finish it up at 3-0.

All in all, it was a sign to Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid that Barcelona are picking right up from last season as they push to retain their title - and Messi will be leading the charge.

Philippe Coutinho
La Liga
Lionel Messi

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