Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez, Andrés Iniesta and Neymar all scored against Celtic in Group C, with Marc-André ter Stegen’s penalty save putting the seal on Barcelona’s record 7-0 victory.
Leo Messi scored a hat-trick as FC Barcelona kicked off their Champions League campaign with a crushing 7-0 win at home to Scottish champions, Celtic.
Following Saturday’s shock defeat at home to Alaves, Barca coach Luis Enrique was taking no risks and fielded arguably his strongest available side, with the exception of Andre Gomes who was in for Andres Iniesta.
Messi needed just three minutes to open his account after he took a pass from Neymar before smashing the ball home from a tight angle.
Barca were in total control, but Celtic should have been level after 24 minutes when Ter Stegen brought down Moussa Dembele who broke into the Barca area. The keeper then made up for his error by saving the French striker’s spot kick and Messi made the save doubly important two minutes later when he took advantage of another pass from Neymar to stab the ball home from close range to make the score 2-0.
Celtic had travelled to Barcelona on the back of a 5-1 win at home to bitter rivals, Glasgow Rangers, but the gulf in class between Spanish and Scottish football was being made clear, although it wasn’t until the 50th minute when Neymar scored a spectacular free kick.
Iniesta, who had replaced Ivan Rakitic at the break, added the fourth in the 59th minute with a low shot and a minute later Messi completed his hat-trick after Suarez had beaten the offside trap.
The Uruguayan scored the sixth with 15 minutes remaining after controlling a Neymar pass on his chest and netted his second and Barca’s seventh of the night two minutes from time from a Messi pass after the Argentinean had seen a shot tipped wide for a corner.