FC Barcelona began life without Lionel Messi on a winning note as they defeated Real Sociedad 4-2 in their LaLiga opener on Sunday night.
Result: Barcelona 4-2 Real Sociedad
Date: 15 August 2021
Venue: Camp Nou
New signings Memphis Depay and Eric Garcia were handed their official debuts while Philippe Coutinho did not make the squad despite being fit.
The supporters at the Camp Nou paid tribute to Lionel Messi in the 10th minute with an applause, after the Argentine officially parted ways this past week.
After dominating early on, the opening goal arrived on 18 minutes when Gerard Pique, who took a big pay cut recently, nodded home a free-kick Depay.
Sociedad, meanwhile, struggled to provide any threat for most of the first half as they were thwarted by Garcia and Pique at every attempt in the final third.
Barcelona went on to double their lead minutes before the break when Frenkie de Jong did well to pick out Martin Braithwaite, who powered home a header at the far post.
Braithwaite carried that momentum over to the second half and extended Barcelona's lead just before the hour mark with a powerful finish from close range after Alex Remiro was unable to hold onto Jordi Alba's cross.
With Barcelona comfortably leading, Ronald Koeman introduced new signing Emerson Royal and Sergi Roberto for Sergino Dest and De Jong for the final 20 minutes of the second half.
Sociedad did pull a goal back with eight minutes left on the clock as Barrenetxea picked out Julen Lobete who found the back of the net with a first-time finish.
There were nerves in the Camp Nou minutes later when Mikel Oyarzabal made it 3-2 with a superb free-kick that left Neto with no chance between the sticks.
However, Barcelona sealed the win in the first minute of time added on as a swift counter-attack ended with Braithwaite picking out Roberto for the simple tap-in from three yards out.
Click through the gallery below to see Barca highest-paid stars: