Well, that didn’t take long.
Within three minutes of coming on for Barcelona against Deportivo La Coruna, Lionel Messi was on the scoresheet.
The Argentine was making his return from a groin injury that forced him to miss three weeks. And it’s fair to say that he has been missed.
Barca were 1-0 up against Atletico Madrid when Messi left the field on the hour mark in last month’s contest. The game finished 1-1.
And Luis Enrique’s side struggled to a 2-1 win over Borussia Monchengladbach before falling to Celta Vigo 4-3 at the start of the month.
Thankfully for Barcelona, they didn’t lose too much ground in the title race. Three straight draws from Real Madrid ensured that.
Yet Messi’s return to action signals more than just the return of arguably the world’s best ever player. It provides a mental boost, too, and that was evident at the Nou Camp this afternoon.
Rafinha got the hosts up and running with two goals in 15 first-half minutes, and the tie was effectively put to bed when Luis Suarez turned home Neymar’s pass.
Eager to give his star man minutes ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League encounter against Manchester City, Enrique introduced Messi in the 55th minute.
Three minutes later it was 4-0.
Messi got on the end of Neymar’s through ball and, with his first touch since September 21, fired the ball into the roof of the net.
He’s back, ladies and gentlemen.
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