Colossal Messi dismatles Juventus | Quick Reaction and Player Ratings

Barcelona were deserved winners against Juventus in Match 1 of the Champions League Group D. As seems to be the case in recent times, Lionel Messi decided to step up when his team needed him the most and delivered yet another performance to remember -- beating legendary Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon for the first time in his career in the process.

The match was tough and well-fought during the first half, with the battle for controlling the midfield taking centre-stage. The much-improved Barcelona midfield, with Ivan Rakitic stepping up in style once again, always had the upper hand in terms of possession but weren't always able to break through Juve's highly-populated back-line -- mostly due to either inaccurate final passes or slightly clumsy first touches when in advantageous positions.

Messi's superbly placed strike seconds before the half-time whistle changed the game. With Juventus being forced to push forward slightly more after the break, the Catalans were inevitably granted much-needed spaces for their talented forwards to exploit. The rest, as they say, is history: Messi used his magic to close the game by causing the mayhem that Rakitic took advantage of for Barca's second, then adding yet another goal to his impressive personal tally.

Match Stats:

Here are Francesc Tomas' Player Ratings:

Ter Stegen - 7
Semedo - 8
Umtiti - 7
Pique - 7
Alba - 8
Busquets - 8
Rakitic - 8
Iniesta - 8
Dembele - 7
Suarez - 7
Messi - 9

Sergi Roberto - 6
Paulinho - 6
Gomes - 6

Want more Barca? In Episode 32 of The Barcelona Podcast, we discuss Valverde's tactics and improvements, the role of Barca's fringe players and even the current political situation in Catalunya. Check it out here: