Argentina star Lionel Messi scored twice as Barcelona thrashed Atletico Madrid 5-2 in the Camp Nou to maintain their perfect start to the Spanish league season.
Messi celebrated his lucrative contract extension at Barca, sealed on Friday, with a superb display against a flagging Atletico who have made a poor start to the season. New signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic put Barcelona ahead in the second minute, just after Thierry Henry had hit the post in a frenetic opening. Messi then got in the scoring act, rounding goalkeeper Roberto Jiminez after being played through by midfielder Xavi. Daniel Alves scored the third for the reigning European and Spanish champions with a powerful free kick on the half hour mark. Ibrahimovic, who is finding his feet after a slow pre-season campaign, then found Messi who charged past a static Atletico defense before finding Seydou Keita for a tap-in on 41 minutes.
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To complete an exciting first half, Sergio Aguero pulled one back for the visitors after a mistake by Sergio Busquets. Atletico gained respectability after half-time as Diego Forlan scored six minutes from time, but Messi rubbed it in with the fifth during injury time. In other action on Saturday, Real Mallorca briefly went top before Barcelona won the late kick off, beating promoted Tenerife 4-0. Mario Saurez, Artiz Aduriz, Julio Alvarez and a late Pierre Webo penalty gave Mallorca three points as they matched their best ever start to a Primera Liga season with two wins and a draw. Espanyol moved off the bottom with their first victory of the season with a 3-2 away win at Deportivo la Coruna, while Alvaro Negredo scored his first goal for Sevilla who beat Osasuna 2-0. In Sunday’s action, big-spending Real Madrid will bid to equal Barcelona’s three wins form three games when they tackle lowly Xerez.