A turning point for Lionel Messi in the first game for Barcelona

Messi’s goal in the second half of the relegation injury threatened Mallorca – with his right foot, not his favored left – and meant the Argentine became the first player to score at least 20 goals in 12 seasons in La Liga.

He also scored two assists in a 4-0 win, leaving Barcelona five points behind Real Madrid’s arch-rivals at the top of the table.

Messi and Barcelona have not played for more than three months in the middle of it coronavirus pandemic, with Spain as one of the hardest hit countries in the world.

But that didn’t stop a man in a Messi Argentina jersey from heading to the field on Saturday to try to get a photo with the record six-time Ballon d’Or winner. He was interrupted by security and escorted.

Arturo Vidal opened the scoring for Barcelona in the second minute after turning Jordi Alba into a perfect goal and Messi scored over Alba in the 79th minute.

Barcelona’s second goal came from Martin Braithwaite, who was signed in February as an ambulance striker from humble Leganes after long-term injuries to Ousman Dembele and Luis Suarez – who returned on Saturday and assisted on Messi’s efforts.

Brathwaite grabbed the ball in the box and in the 37th minute threw the ball into the roof of the net for his first goal in Barcelona.

‘It’s great’

“I’ve been waiting a long time for that,” Braithwaite told Barcelona TV. “It’s amazing to score my first goal and most importantly it was really important to start like today.

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“I’ve worked a lot in this break and I’m looking forward to playing this game and I hope to score a goal. I’m happy, really happy.”

Barcelona hosted the second penultimate Leganes on Tuesday before seemingly tougher tests in third-placed Sevilla on Friday.

He is bidding for the third straight championship title in what was stormy season.

“It’s true that we need to improve, but I’m very pleased with the team’s performance after so much time,” said Barcelona manager Quique Setien, who replaced the sacked Ernesto Valverde in January.

Real Madrid on Sunday host the second team in danger of relegation, Eibar.

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