Barcelona restarted their 2019-20 La Liga campaign in fine fashion, thrashing relegation battlers RCD Mallorca 4-0 on Saturday night.
It just took a little over a minute for Barcelona to take the lead, with Arturo Vidal heading home a pinpoint cross by Jordi Alba. There was a brief period when the hosts threatened through Takefusa Kubo, but Martin Braithwaite made it 2-0 for the Catalans in the 37th minute, thumping home from close range.
Late in the second period, Alba added the third, getting on the end of a sublime pass from Lionel Messi, before the Argentine found the back of the net himself in stoppage time to secure a 4-0 win for Quique Setien’s side. It was a resounding performance from Barcelona on their return, with the champions now opening up a five-point lead over Real Madrid, who will play Eibar on Sunday.
FEELS G⚽️⚽️⚽️⚽️D! pic.twitter.com/zBV8MkMAbF
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 13, 2020
And, here’s how we rated the performances of the Barcelona stars at the ‘Visit Mallorca’ Estadi.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7/10
The German was up to the task when he was tested with a couple of efforts from former Barcelona academy man Kubo in the first period. Didn’t have much else to do in terms of saves. Distribution from the back was pinpoint, helping Barcelona build up play from the back effectively.
Sergi Roberto: 6.5/10
Enjoyed a lot of freedom down the right flank and took up good positions throughout. But his end product left a lot to be desired as his crosses and cutbacks didn’t always find the intended targets.
Gerard Pique: 7/10
A comfortable outing for the seasoned campaigner with the hosts hardly offering a major threat going forward. Paired up with a new defensive partner, Pique guided the young Ronald Araujo throughout, helping him ease through the game.
Ronald Araujo: 7/10
Making his full debut for Barcelona, the Uruguayan put in an accomplished performance on the night. Posed with a few questions by Takefusa Kubo briefly in the first period but came through unscathed. Looked solid and steady for the majority of the game. Almost scored in the second half.
Jordi Alba: 8/10
Started the game on a strong note, setting up Vidal’s opener with a brilliant cross. Continued to be a key outlet going forward for Barcelona down the left-hand side. Took his goal brilliantly in the second period. Booked and will now miss the next game due to suspension for accumulation of cards.
Arturo Vidal: 7/10
Starting ahead of the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Arthur Melo, the Chilean showed why exactly, as he powered home a header just 65 seconds in to put Barcelona ahead. Was on the field for just 45 minutes, but showed great energy and intensity throughout, always willing to press the opponents and make forward runs at every opportunity presented.
Sergio Busquets: 7/10
Offered the calming presence in the middle of the park. Controlled the proceedings from deep, consistently finding his teammates in better positions. Did npt have a great deal to do in the defensive sense. Taken off with twenty minutes left, with Setien looking to keep him fresh for the upcoming matches.
Frenkie de Jong: 7/10
A bright performance from the Netherlands international. Won the ball from Kubo in the lead up to Barcelona’s first goal of the game and caused problems with his forward bursts. Was more than willing to do the dirty work in the middle of the park. A solid performance.
Lionel Messi: 9/10
Leo #Messi tonight:
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 13, 2020
Given that there hadn’t been no football for over three months, one would expect players to show signs of rust upon returning. But not Messi. Sublime as ever, the Argentine ran the show for Barcelona on the night.
The Barcelona captain set up Braithwaite’s goal in the first half before assisting Alba after the break with a deft flick. Messi then got a goal of his own late in the game to round off a brilliant display. On another level altogether.
Antoine Griezmann: 6/10
Take nothing away from the Frenchman’s efforts and work rate on the night, but he was once again found lacking in the attacking side of things. Did not appear to be on the same wavelength as his attacking partners on occasions. Needs to step up in the upcoming games, with Luis Suarez back and Braithwaite impressing.
Martin Braithwaite: 8/10
Starting just his second game for Barcelona, the emergency signing from Leganes looked a very promising addition to the team. Took his goal well after being set up by a Messi headed pass and came close to scoring again in the second period, again with Messi being involved. All signs so far have been positive for the Dane. An effective performance.
Ivan Rakitic: 6/10
Replaced Vidal at half-time to make his 300th appearance for Barcelona. Steady as usual without really standing out a great deal.
Luis Suarez: 6/10
Made his first appearance since January and looked bright upon his return from injury. Almost scored, but had to settle for an assist, as he set up Messi’s late goal.
Nelson Semedo: 5/10
Came on for Roberto in the 71st minute. Looked to get forward, but didn’t do much of note.
Arthur Melo: 5/10
Got a run out for the final 20 minutes after he replaced Sergio Busquets. A quite outing for the Brazilian.
Junior Firpo: N/A
Replaced de Jong with less than ten minutes on the clock.