Celtic skittled by Barça's magnificent seven

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.

Matchday 1 highlights: Watch Messi masterclass against Celtic
Matchday 1 highlights: Watch Messi masterclass against Celtic

It was business as usual for Barcelona as a Lionel Messi hat-trick against Celtic – his fourth in the competition (or sixth if you include more than three goals in a game) – and further strikes from Neymar, Andrés Iniesta and Luis Suarez made for their biggest-ever win in the UEFA Champions League.

Messi was one of eight players restored to Luis Enrique's starting lineup following their weekend defeat by Alavés and he wasted no time making his mark, firing into the roof of the net within three minutes.

Celtic might have equalised when Moussa Dembélé was brought down in the box, but Marc-André ter Stegen parried to safety Dembélé's spot kick. It proved a costly miss as moments later Messi put Barcelona further in front following a 19-pass move. Neymar, substitute Iniesta, Messi again and a Suárez brace inflicted Celtic's heaviest European defeat.

Lionel Messi: Dazzling under the floodlights
Lionel Messi: Dazzling under the floodlights©AFP/Getty Images

Key player: Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
There is an old expression: those who can, do; those who can't, teach. Well, Messi does the lot. He takes games and he toys with them. He teaches team-mates where to run and when to give him the ball; and he teaches defenders, not only Celtic's, not to mess with him.

When his tail's up, it is one of the most exhilarating sights anywhere in sport, never mind football. The goals, the Butch and Sundance relationship with Neymar, the passes, the dribbling, the leadership ... it is for performances like this that the UEFA Champions League exists.

Rotation rewarded
This is the brand of Barcelona football that opponents live in fear of. Too fast to cope with, relentless, tiring, frightening, clever and electric. But how do a team fight for trophies on every front and still get to March or April as fresh, dynamic and hard to pin down as they are now? Well, via squad rotation – and via the manager knowing who to rest and when.

Iniesta delight at 'effective' Barça
Iniesta delight at 'effective' Barça

Which is what Luis Enrique quite legitimately attempted to do in the Liga at the weekend. It can be hard to judge, however, and the Alavés result left the Barça coach open to complaints. Credit to Luis Enrique, though – he knows full well that some rotation is necessary if he is to have a shot at getting to Cardiff for the final.

Trident sparkles again
So much has been written about Barcelona's triumvirate of Messi, Neymar and Suárez, and their attributes were emphatically underlined here as they took their collective goal tally for the Catalans to 265. Messi was the pick, although Neymar had a strong case with four assists and a free-kick goal. Suárez, too, did his former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers no favours with a late brace.

UEFA.com team reporters' views

Graham Hunter, Barcelona (@BumperGraham)
I would guess Mauricio Pellegrino and his Alavés lads were sitting at home thinking: "PHEW!" This Blaugrana display was separated, in days, by less than 72 hours from Alavés's 2-1 Camp Nou triumph, but it was worlds, even galaxies, apart in terms of speed, incisiveness, cohesion and, on occasion, genius. Celtic's players will have headed home thinking not where they went wrong but how on earth anyone ever stops the Spanish champions when in this mood. Very few Celtic players failed to show up – and one or two, Scott Sinclair in particular, could be proud of their night's work. But this was liquid gold on a gorgeous green pitch. The UEFA Champions League is back with a bang.

Alex O'Henley, Celtic (@UEFAcomAlexO)
No one expected Celtic to take anything from this curtain-raiser against one of the title favourites, yet Rodgers will be alarmed by how they collapsed in the second half. The Hoops might have gained a foothold had Dembélé converted the 24th-minute penalty. That was a harsh lesson and one the Celtic management and players must heed ahead of Manchester City's visit.

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