Barcelona started the new season without Lionel Messi for the first time ever in 21 years. In a fun start La Liga match Barcelona beat Real Sociedad with a 4-2 scoreboard. Gerard Pique opened the scoring in the 19th minute of the football match for Barca with a powerful header from a free-kick from Memphis Depay. Later Martin Braithwaite netted the goal twice and became the first Danish player to score a bracket in La Liga by scoring on both sides of the break.
Real Sociedad pulled back 3-2 through Julen Lobete and Mikel Oyarzabal, but Sergi Roberto added a fourth for Barcelona in extra time. It was fitting that Barca’s first goal of the season was scored by Pique after the defender agreed to reduce his wages in the first week so that the club could register three new signings in time for the new season. Barcelona can sign Memphis Depay, Eric Garcia, and Rey Manaj contracts in time for the new season as Pique accepted a pay cut.
Despite Messi joining Paris Saint-Germain in the first week of the month, 22,000 fans wore Messi shirt at Camp Nou and shouted in the 10th minute for their record scorer. New signee Sergio Aguero, who was ruled out for 10 weeks with a calf injury, was seen from the sidelines.
Elsewhere in the league, defending champions Atlético Madrid started the season with a 2-1 win over Celta Vigo, while their city rivals Real Madrid beat Alaves 4-1 in the opening of their season on Saturday.
Watch football highlights of the La Liga opener match in which Barcelona beat Real Sociedad at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian.
Barcelona – Real Sociedad 4:2
Goals: Pique 19’, Braithwaite 45+2’, Braithwaite 59’, Roberto 90+1’ – Lobete 82’, Oyarzabal 85’)