All of the talk had been about Robert Lewandowski in this close season, and just five minutes in it was easy to see why.
An audacious finish on three minutes after expertly taking the ball around the keeper was quickly followed up with a lovely disguised pass to play in Pedri for Barca’s quick fire second.
Any thoughts about the Polish international’s advancing years were moribund as an argument by that point.
Class is permanent after all.
With Raphinha and Ousmane Dembele helping the Catalans to start the match with all guns blazing, the picture of a glum Gerard Pique on the bench said much. How he wanted to be out on that pitch.
Barca will certainly face stiffer tests in La Liga and in the Champions League, but the intent with which the hosts attacked was truly something else.
I mean, can you imagine a Ronald Koeman side playing like this?! (Notwithstanding that I did, initially, sing the Dutchman’s praises).
There can surely have been no easier Gamper Trophy victory, and on this performance, Rayo Vallecano will know that only an extremely lucky backs-against-the-wall 90 minutes will see them depart Camp Nou with anything other than a defeat.
Other upcoming opponents will have surely watched with interest too.
So far in pre-season, both on and off the pitch, things couldn’t have gone any better for Xavi and Co.
Only Chelsea’s desire to hang onto Cesar Azpilicueta and Martin Braithwaite’s desire to rinse the club of every last penny of his contract have caused issues, but they’re certainly problems that the club can cope with.
Indeed, there really isn’t anything to be bleating about as we head into the league season, and frankly that’s unheard of.
The 83,000 in attendance clearly agreed, and that’s not an attendance to be sniffed at given that the average home gate last season was a miniscule 53,000 in comparison.
The all for one and one for all mentality has returned, the swashbuckling football is back and confidence couldn’t be higher.
Sharpness was a given, including from the likes of Aubameyang, Kessie and De Jong et al, despite having to wait 45 minutes for their introductions.
Defensively against Pumas there really wasn’t a judgment that could be passed either, and that’s likely to be the problem area during the season if there is going to be one.
In my opinion there aren’t going to be too many teams that will live with Barca’s attacking abilities, but the back line have to be able to shut up shop when needed.
At least it does appear we finally have some genuine strength in depth in all areas which is that has sometimes hamstrung the club in the past.
As we career full steam ahead into the 22/23 campaign, let’s see how far Xavi can take this brilliant crop of players.
Oh le le….