Lionel Messi scored Barcelona's 6000th goal in LaLiga as the champions sealed a 3-0 win over Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.
The Argentina star swept in a clever free-kick midway through the second half before Philippe Coutinho netted a fine second, with Messi doubling his tally late on to secure all three points for Ernesto Valverde's side.
Alaves did little to trouble Barca's goal even after going behind, but it was far from a convincing display from the hosts, who handed league debuts to Arthur and Arturo Vidal in the second half.
Barca looked laboured despite all their possession in the first half, with creativity at a premium in Coutinho's absence, although captain Messi hit the bar with a free-kick and Ousmane Dembele fired straight at Fernando Pacheco when through one-on-one.
Coutinho was introduced at half-time for full-back Nelson Semedo, but there was little to get the 52,356 fans inside Camp Nou out of their seats until the 64th minute, when Messi sent a free-kick under the wall and into the net.
The Argentina star struck the woodwork again despite nearly slipping over in the build-up, before Luis Suarez – making his 200th appearance for the club – was denied by Pacheco when capitalising on a defensive slip.
Barca secured an opening-day win for the 10th time in succession eight minutes from time, though, when Coutinho rifled home from just inside the area, before Messi brought down Suarez's pass and slotted home with the last kick.
What does it mean: Valverde's men still in pre-season mode
This was the 10th season in a row in which Barca have won their first LaLiga match, and Messi's free-kick was certainly a fine way to mark the occasion, but there is much work to be done.
The champions were far too ponderous in possession throughout, with midfielders reluctant to run from deep and Dembele too often surrendering the ball when trying to stretch Alaves' rigid 4-5-1 set-up.
It rather felt like a friendly match, with more than 40,000 seats going unused in the stands and Barca never getting out of third gear, while the visitors made no change to their approach even after going behind.
They will improve in the coming weeks, but this was not a display to leave Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid feeling unduly concerned.
Pat on the back: Messi still Barca's main man
It was fitting that Barca's 6000th goal in the top flight was scored by the man who got their 5000th back in 2009.
Messi, on his first league outing as club captain and without Andres Iniesta at the club, clipped the bar in the first half before trying a different tactic to put his side ahead in the second. Some sublime close control and a deft finish added late gloss to the scoreline.
With Suarez and Dembele off the boil and Coutinho only introduced off the bench, it fell on Messi to become the main creator and goal threat for his side, and only the woodwork denied him a hat-trick.
6.4% - Barcelona have scored 6000 goals in La Liga history, 6.4% of them scored by Lionel Messi (384 goals). Icon. pic.twitter.com/H7DWsEECeg— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 18, 2018
Boot up the backside: Dembele frustrates again
Dembele looked ready for an explosive start to the season when he blasted in the winner in the Supercopa de Espana, but this was another forgettable outing at Camp Nou for the forward.
He squandered two decent first-half chances with poor finishes after failing to pick out Messi in a two-on-one situation, and his runs in the final third too often ended in possession being gifted to Alaves.
Key Opta Facts
15 - Lionel Messi is the first player in La Liga to score in 15 consecutive seasons in the 21st century (385 goals). Critical. pic.twitter.com/JYMXnU2anZ— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 18, 2018
- Barcelona are the second team in LaLiga history to reach 6000 goals in the competition (6002 goals), after Real Madrid (6041 goals).
- Lionel Messi is the first player to score in 15 consecutive LaLiga seasons in the 21st century (385 goals).
- Barcelona have scored 6002 goals in LaLiga history, 6.4 per cent of them scored by Lionel Messi (385 goals).
- Luis Suarez has equalled Dani Alves as the player with the most assists to Lionel Messi in LaLiga (26 apiece).
Next up for Barca is a trip to Real Valladolid next Saturday, the promoted side having held Girona to a 0-0 draw in the first match back in LaLiga.
Alaves also play in a week's time, with Real Betis the visitors to Mendizorrotza looking to bounce back from a humbling 3-0 home loss to Levante.
|Inter must live on the edge to win, says jubilant Spalletti|
|Woods leads by three at Tour Championship|
|Bordeaux end Clermont´s perfect start, Zebo at double in Racing win|
|Lopetegui not worried about Courtois footwork|
|Joshua finds emphatic answer to Povetkin challenge|
|BREAKING NEWS: Brutal Joshua knocks out Povetkin in seventh round|
|Real Madrid can´t win 5-0 every week - Varane|
|Al Ahly 4 Horoya 0 (4-0 agg): Egyptian giants reach CAF Champions League semi-finals|
|Kings upset Warriors, Leinster batter Edinburgh|
|Son committed to Tottenham amid Bayern links|
|Simeone hails Atleti´s best LaLiga display of the season|
|Kovac: Bayern ´dominated´ Schalke in 2-0 win|
|Pochettino unimpressed with Tottenham´s tense finish|
|Campbell gains revenge as Price is halted by injury|
|Tottenham fatigue rumours are a myth, claims Rose|
|Widnes defiant after Super League relegation, Saints outclass Wolves|
|NFL must go back to college to eradicate the tie|
|Real Madrid 1 Espanyol 0: Asensio downs old club to earn narrow win|
|Sampdoria 0 Inter 1: Brozovic wins it late after VAR takes centre stage|
|Rudy takes blame for James goal in Bayern win|
|Tiger charges into four-shot lead|
|Players have given their lives to Burnley - Dyche|
|QPR 0 Norwich City 1: Pukki hits winner as hot streak continues|
|Nuno proud of Wolves character in Man United draw|
|Playing for England my dream, says in-form Maddison|
|Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Tottenham 2: Kane on target as Spurs issue firm response|
|Schalke 0 Bayern Munich 2: James and Lewandowski deliver another win|
|Getafe 0 Atletico Madrid 2: Lemar inspires routine win|
|Championship Review: Monk ruins Leeds´ unbeaten streak, McGinn screamer fails to save Villa|
|Bale benched for Real Madrid-Espanyol|
|Biggar fails to rescue Saints at Bath, Bristol and Wasps win|
|Zaha affected by back injury – Hodgson|
|Mourinho slams Manchester United attitude after Wolves stalemate|
|Herbert holds Portugal Masters advantage|
|Warnock blasts ´elementary´ Cardiff mistakes|
|Shaqiri substitution not easy for Klopp|
|Guardiola hopes for even more to come from Aguero|
|Fellaini accepts United closing gap to Premier League summit will be difficult|
|Klizan to face Thiem in St. Petersburg final, Bachinger shocks Nishikori|
|Klopp: Van Dijk injury not serious|
|Mourinho annoyed by Man Utd´s blunt attack in Wolves draw|
|Valverde not ready to consider Barca contract extension|
|Gattuso wary of wounded Atalanta as Higuain receives further advice|
|Burnley 4 Bournemouth 0: Rampant Clarets claim first Premier League win of the season|
|Crystal Palace 0 Newcastle United 0: Sakho misses sitter as Magpies remain winless|
|Cardiff City 0 Manchester City 5: Aguero celebrates new deal with goal in 300th game|
|Leicester City 3 Huddersfield Town 1: Comeback win eases pressure on Puel|
|Liverpool 3 Southampton 0: Salah ends goalless run as Reds make best Premier League start|
|Manchester United 1 Wolves 1: Moutinho stunner sees Red Devils falter at home again|
|Rashid, Hasan and Asghar fined by ICC|
|Barnsley game postponed after medical emergency|
|Johnny Manziel sacked five times in ugly CFL loss|
|Fosu-Mensah says sorry for tackle on Deeney|
|Kluivert to get Roma chance as Di Francesco demands focus|
|Robinson optimistic injured Cronk will be fit for Grand Final|
|WATCH: Ferguson given immense ovation on Old Trafford return|
|Three in a row for Lorenzo at Aragon|
|Warner makes 155 on Australian grade cricket return|
|Pain-free Kyrie Irving ready to lead Celtics to NBA title|
|Firmino returns as Shaqiri gets first league start|
|Fulham 1 Watford 1: Mitrovic shines late to spoil Gray´s day|
|Ronaldo vows to lose weight and assist training after Real Valladolid purchase|
|Patriots WR Josh Gordon listed as questionable to face Lions|
|500th goal was crucial to my new book - Ibrahimovic|
|Roosters survive Cronk injury to hold off Souths and reach Grand Final|
|Murray announces intention to end season early|
|I want to play right-back for England - Walker|
|I would beat Bolt for speed on the pitch, claims Traore|
|Ferguson returns to Old Trafford for Manchester United v Wolves|
|Walker ´hurt´ by Pochettino claims over Tottenham exit|