Rakitic made no mistake and Barcelona were then cruising against the team that they struggled against last year. They lost the Italian Super Cup to Lazio but have since gone from strength-to-strength, scoring goals while also conceding them.
A 5-0 derby win, an assist for 105 million euro ($126 million) purchase Ousmane Dembele on his debut and a four-point La Liga lead over Real Madrid ought to have brought some relief to Barcelona's beleaguered board.
Along with Luis Suarez and club icon Messi, the young Frenchman will look to find a potent attacking triumvirate like no other and the steely Bianconeri defence will truly test their mettle on Tuesday.
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The 28-year-old is reported to have travelled to the Spanish capital this week amid reports he is looking at buying a house ahead of a potential return to Los Rojiblancos.
Messi's goals were his first ever against the 39-year-old Buffon, who had kept him without a goal in three previous meetings.
The Juve clash, a repeat of last season's quarter-final tie won by the Italians and the 2015 Champions League final in which Barca triumphed, was one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures in Europe this week.
The Champions League is of course the only title in football left for Buffon to win.
Dembele has been signed to fill the boots of Neymar following his £200m exit to Paris Saint-Germain, but saw first-hand exactly what it takes to be a Barcelona star by Messi against Juventus.
En Dominicana se sentirán los golpes de Irma esta madrugada
Las provincias que estaban en esa condición eran San Juan de la Maguana, Samaná, María Trinidad Sánchez, Puerto Plata y Montecristi.
"His future is with Juventus and I am very happy with that". The outcome of the match is likely to be decided in the midfield and Juventus have in Matuidi and Pjanic, a unique combination of mental and physical strength, which can prove to be vital. "There will be ups and downs, but the good thing is that we have plenty of time to fix things". A Celtic own goal ensured a night to forget for the Scottish champion.
Meanwhile, for Juventus, it is their 18th Champions League group stage campaign and the sixth in succession.
Higuaín played 18 times against Barcelona in all competitions during his spell at Madrid, notching three goals.
Barcelona are revitalized under new manager Ernesto Valverde and don't seem to be missing Neymar at all.
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Harry Kane's 100th Tottenham goal was the catalyst as Mauricio Pochettino's side eased to an impressive 3-0 win at Everton. Pictures of the former Benfica goalkeeper showed a series of stitches in the side of his face covered by a huge dressing.
It was fine play from the Argentine that led to Ivan Rakitic doubling Barca's lead on 56 minutes and Messi saved the best for last with a sublime goal to complete the victory midway through the second half.