Barcelona's Valverde: "Juventus are a very strong team"

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu hailed Lionel Messi as the best player of all-time as the Argentine lifted the mood at the crisis-ridden Catalan giants with a double in a 3-0 thrashing of Juventus to start their Champions League campaign.

Messi broke the deadlock on the stroke of halftime by playing a slick one-two off Luis Suarez and arrowing the ball beyond Gianluigi Buffon, finally getting the better of the veteran Italian in his fourth game against him.

If all goes according to odds, it won't be the last time they meet in this competition.

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Barca have since lost Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain, but it was Juve's' most notable pre-season departure - Leonardo Bonucci's surprise switch to AC Milan - that loomed largest over this match as a once formidable defence was cut to ribbons in Giorgio Chiellini's injury absence.

Allegri's side beat Barcelona 3-0 on aggregate in last season's quarter-finals.

Barcelona's good start has put fans back at ease after the team started the season in bit of a crisis following the Spanish Super Cup loss to Madrid and the transfer-window debacle in which it failed to sign any top players other than Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund. We are getting a good price for the under 2.5 goals bet and as a result, I am also going to suggest that as an option for this game. The player Juan Cuadrado is suspended and Alex Sandro is in doubt. "He lowers his head every time", the coach said.

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"The first goal just before the break changed everything".

Valverde, having spent many years trying to find a way to stop Messi, admits he is now sitting back and relishing having the 30-year-old at his disposal.

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde agreed that Dybala posed a threat but was also concerned with Juve's power as a team. Next weekend it will face a difficult test when it travels to play co-leader Real Sociedad at Anoeta Stadium. Juventus is continually an excellent team and Massimiliano Allegri has a dream to take his team to the Champions League Finals.

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