Barcelona vs Granada CF : Picture gallery
Lionel Messi scored a fabulous hat-trick as Barcelona kicked off 2016 with a La Liga victory and a return to the top of the league table.
The Argentine linked up splendidly with Luis Suarez and Neymar as the incredible Barca front three picked Granada apart almost at will.
Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal began their first La Liga games for Barcelona following their summer arrival.
But unlike ‘new signings’ they were visibly straight in with ease, no doubt the only positive side effect of having trained regularly alongside these players for six months without actually playing.
Rotation has been the key factor of the new year for Barcelona as they look forward to preserving their squad heading into the technically business end of the season.
Having drawn three of their previous four games, it could be that the injury problem of the autumn has finally caught up with few squad members that had to sincerely play all the way through.
And that’s why we witnessed Dani Alves, Andres Iniesta and also Sergio Busquets rested today.
Granada impressed us with their speed on the counter attack and confident resistance in defence.
While only one was prominent at the Nou Camp, they looked a better side than one just sitting a single point above the drop zone, which was credible in itself.
Lionel Messi did what Lionel Messi does as usual.
The first goal was a rather deft finish, helping Turan’s superb pass on its way into the far corner of the goal.
All three of the ‘MSN’ had their share of the ball as Neymar’s swinging cross made Luis Suarez to take goalkeeper Andres Fernandez out of the game fruitfully with a sublime first touch and then Messi to tuck home a second.
His third was a sheer stab where he just beat the defender rushing to the ball as Neymar’s effort rebounded off the post, although Neymar was right on the money as he got the last goal of the match.