Lionel Messi 8, Ansu Fati 9: Barcelona player ratings v Villarreal

Lionel Messi 8, Ansu Fati 9: Barcelona player ratings v Villarreal
Lionel Messi 8, Ansu Fati 9: Barcelona player ratings v Villarreal

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BARCELONA RATINGS: Neto – 6, Gifted a rare start, Neto was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the opening exchanges but he didn’t have a tangible save to make until the half hour mark, when he stopped Pervis Estupian’s volley. Was always alert when needed. AFP

Gerard Pique – 7, Pique was a commanding presence and he made a couple of key interceptions on the rare occasions Villarreal ventured forward. Made one particularly vital clearance before the hour mark, and late on even popped up at the other end with a neat flick. EPA

Sergio Busquets – 6, Busquets will face sterner tests this season, but his distribution was as good as ever. Got the ball moving and was the fulcrum for much of Barca’s possession. AP

Antoine Griezmann – 5, The Frenchman had a quiet game, and was the least influential of Barca’s forward players, though his movement enabled others to probe. He had the least touches of his attacking teammates… and, perhaps crucially, no shots on goal, before being substituted. AFP

Lionel Messi – 8, The skipper was a constant threat when running with the ball. He scored Barca’s third when he converted from the spot after Fati was brought down, and he had a big hand in Barca’s fourth when his teasing cross was converted by Pau Torres into his own net. Could have score more had it not been for Asenjo in the Villarreal goal. AFP

Philippe Coutinho – 7, The Brazilian forward constantly switched from left to right and linked well with Messi and Fati, breaking at speed and showing plenty of neat tricks. Looked closer to his menacing best. Getty

Clement Lenglet – 6, The French international didn’t have a great deal to do, but he was on hand to head away when called upon in the last minute of the first half, and then made a key interception in the second. AFP

Jordi Alba – 7, The Spaniard made a key interception early on and then, at the other end, he pulled the ball back for Fati to net the opening goal. He was a constant threat on the left, and saw a shot beaten away by Asenjo. AFP

Sergi Roberto – 7, Roberto was the quieter of the two full backs but he managed to set up Philippe Coutinho on one occasion when he cut back from the byline on the right-hand side. AFP

Frenkie De Jong – 6, The Dutchman went quietly about his business and looked settled, if not unspectacular. Was solid in possession. Reuters

Ansu Fati – 9, The 17-year-old was sensational. He broke the deadlock with an unstoppable finish that ended in the top right corner following Jordi Alba’s cut back. He netted a second four minutes later when he converted Coutinho’s pass, and was then brought down by Mario Gaspar before the break. Quick, lively, and full of invention. Luis who? AP

Substitutes: Ousmane Dembele (69 minutes) – 7, Made an instant impact with his first touch as he set up Jordi Alba to cross. Looked dangerous on the left side and full of running. Reuters

Pedri (69 minutes) – 6, Was brought on in the second half and linked well with Dembele on the left. AFP

Miralem Pjanic (77 minutes) – N/A Making his Barca debut, the former Juve creator made a key intervention as Villarreal searched for a late consolation goal. Reuters

Francisco Trincao (77 minutes) – N/A The Portuguese attacker earned a cameo role after a promising pre-season and he had a shot blocked in the last ten minutes. Reuters

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