The carnival atmosphere and virtual capacity crowd at Camp Nou was unheard of for a first home game of the season.
Such is the excitement that has been generated by the summer signings and Xavi’s knack of integrating them into the squad perfectly.
As with anything new, however, it will take time to work properly. Teething problems? Not exactly.
A damp squib of a game was as much to do with Rayo’s backs-against-the-wall defending as it was to do with Barca’s inability to finish.
That said, the Catalans were so dominant in that opening 45 that Xavi can’t have been too disappointed by what he saw.
Indeed, there’s much to admire about his Barca.
The return to the ‘Barca way’ with 70 percent possession and nine shots in the first half alone, a genuine threat on both flanks, a comfortable defence for the most part…
The rustiness was probably to be expected when the time came to getting back down to business.
And take nothing away from Rayo who, let’s not forget, did a number on the Blaugranes last season.
If anything, the manner of the performance gives everyone a reality check early doors and dampens down the expectation just a bit. Which can never be a bad thing.
To coin a well-worn phrase, it’s a marathon not a sprint, and what happens in these first few games is unlikely to author what happens for the rest of the campaign.
When Barca hit their stride - and they will - there will be no stopping them. Patience, not normally a virtue associated with culers, needs to be employed at this point.
The depth of the squad affords Xavi the opportunity denied his predecessor in that there is enough quality coming off the bench to not see a drop off in the level of performance.
If anything, the conundrum of how Barca struggle to put away those teams that consistently employ the low block throughout games is no closer to being solved.
The personnel may change and the style may evolve but the issue remains.
All of that said, the hosts were on the front foot throughout, were positive from first to last and never stopped working.
That’s all you can ask from any team, and if the squad can continue in the same vain over the course of the 2022/23 campaign, they won’t be far away when the silverware is handed out next year.