Neymar Barcelona
Barcelona's Neymar (L) celebrates his second goal near Lionel Messi against Mexico's club Leon during their Joan Gamper Trophy soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona August 18, 2014. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino (SPAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino

Liga MX Champions Club Leon clashed with Spanish La Liga powerhouse FC Barcelona in front of a capacity crowd at Camp Nou on Monday in what was a total domination by the class of Spain. Many people were anxious to see Barca’s new “big three” of Lionel Messi, Neymar and new addition, Luis Suarez. Unfortunately for fans, they will have to wait a little longer to see the trio in action as Suarez did not start. Messi made his preseason debut as did Brazilian Neymar who returned to the pitch following a six week rehab stint for broken vertebrae he suffered in Brazil’s quarterfinal victory against Colombia at the World Cup.

The duo of Messi and Neymar did not disappoint as they netted three goals between them in the first half alone. The second half turned into an exhibition as Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique substituted a completely different XI including the controversial Luis “the Cannibal” Suarez. Barcelona scored two more goals in the second half thanks to super sub and 18-year-old soccer wunderkind, Munir el Haddadi.

The eyes of the soccer world fell upon Camp Nou to see the unveiling of the new FC Barcelona team. Many wondered what starting XI Enrique would put out for the start of the game especially after the news came down earlier in the week that although his ban was upheld, Barcelona’s big summer transfer, Luis Suarez was able to train and compete in friendlies for Barcelona. Rather than start Suarez in his Barca debut, Enrique went with the trio of Messi, Neymar and Rafinha up front. In addition to those three, Dani Alves, Javier Mascherano and Jeremy Mathieu were in the starting XI, along with Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta. Gerard Pique came off the bench for Barcelona.

The first half was the Neymar and Messi show as the Brazilian showed no signs of discomfort from his recent back injury, instead he looked brilliant in his return to the pitch. Neymar got in on the action right away as he dribbled passed Leon’s defenders, and attempted a low cross which was deflected. Fortunately for Neymar, the pass deflected right to Messi who started off the scoring with a header in to the back of the net. The game hadn’t even crossed the three minute mark at the time, but for those in attendance, it felt like the beginning of a Barcelona rout.

Neymar added two more goals in the first half, one off of a broken play and the second one of the better goals you’ll see as Neymar found himself wide open in front of the net after a misplay by Leon’s goalkeeper. Neymar nonchalantly tapped the ball into the net off of the back of his heel to make the game 3-0 going into halftime.

Haddadi came in for Messi to start the second half, and got the scoring off early with the fourth goal of the game coming in the 55th minute. The Spanish phenom scored again in the 78th minute just seconds after Suarez entered the game. Haddadi proved why he is so special when he took a selfless pass from Sandro and in one beautiful motion sent the ball into the bottom corner of the net. One sweep of his left foot and the ball was in the back of the net before anyone on Leon could even turn their heads.

Barcelona looked fit, talented, and hungry and it could prove to be a magical season for them as it appears their main competition will come from rival, Real Madrid and their new “fantastic four” up front.

The friendly was played for the 49th annual Joan Gamper trophy which the Catalan club easily won. At halftime of the game, Mexican defender, Rafael Marquez returned to Camp Nou where he was honored by Barcelona. Marquez transferred to Hellas Verona in Italy’s Series A earlier this summer after playing over seven seasons for Barcelona.

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