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Messi And Neymar Start To Click

So much for the concerns that Lionel Messi and Neymar may not compose the attacking duet expected from them.

Until Barcelona beat Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday night, Messi and Neymar had not started a competitive game together.

They had spent time on the pitch with one another, but it often seemed that manager Tata Martino’s take on tiki-taka was passing them by.

However, it’s safe to say that the two glittering South American talents clicked against Los Che, and combined emphatically as Barca continued their 100% start to the defence of their La Liga crown.

For one of Messi’s hat-trick goals in particular, Neymar played a central and sumptuous role.

The Brazilian dragged the ball back in Valencia’s crowded box, anticipating Messi run into a dangerous area, from where he was able to finish with ease.

After the match, Martino was clearly pleased that the Messi-Neymar axis is showing sparks.

“When I manage players that are this good I can’t say what we’re missing,” he cooed. 

“There was concern about how Neymar and Messi were going to interact on the pitch after they played their first match together.

“They fixed that in less than 24 hours.”  

Martino believes that Barca showed their “best form” in surging to a 3-0 lead at the Mestalla.

But he was not especially pleased that they let their nuggety hosts back into the game, after Helder Postiga’s quick-fire brace took the gloss of Messi’s hat-trick, and Barca suddenly began to sweat.

“I'm concerned that that we gave Valencia five to ten minutes of respite when we were ahead by three goals,” Martino admitted, blaming Barca more for sloppiness than crediting Valencia’s fight.

“You cannot give your opponent opportunities. If they are given it has to be because they created them and not because we gave them away.”  

Barca may have taken their foot of the pedal somewhat, but there are ominous signs that they are finding their feet under Tata.

And with Real Madrid winning easily themselves even before the arrival of new star Gareth Bale, the Spanish season is heating up progressively week by week.

Click here to watch the first of what is sure to be many Messi/Neymer combo highlights.

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