Barcelona had just gone 4-0 up. Only 41 minutes had been played and coach Pep Guardiola turned to an assistant on the bench and sighed: "He is just so good".
Asked afterwards who he was referring to, the Barça coach said tongue-in-cheek that he had been praising Seydou Keita who had just tapped in the fourth from two-yards out. But the jaw-dropping reaction from the bench was without doubt reserved for Lionel Messi who had created the goal by spinning between two defenders and delivering the perfect centre from the byline.
The world's highest paid footballer was midway through another masterclass and although his manager chose not to own up, he like everyone else – including Atletico Madrid's defenders – could only marvel at the spectacle.
After four minutes he had the ball in the net from Zlaten Ibrahimovic's pass only for the goal to be ruled out for offside. After 16 minutes he scored one that counted. Xavi Hernandez's pass was inviting but it was Messi's first touch with his chest that took it beyond Simao and left him clean through to shoot past Roberto in the Atletico goal.
"It's a team game" said Guardiola afterwards when asked to explain why Messi could be so good for Barcelona and yet so ordinary for Argentina.
Messi was in good company. Thierry Henry rattled the crossbar after just 58 seconds and after two minutes Ibrahimovic got the first from Sergio Busquet's pass. Dani Alves thundered in a free-kick for the third after Messi's strike and before Keita's tap-in.
Barcelona relaxed in the second half and when Sergio Busquets' header back to his keeper fell short Sergio Aguero became the first player in 565 minutes to score past Victor Valdes. Diego Forlan then made it 4-2 but the last word was Messi's. Iniesta combined with Alves and Barça's No 10 shot from the edge of the box to make it 5-2 to the champions.
Everybody is talking about... Internazionale
Jose Mourinho hit back at criticism over the way his side played against Barcelona in midweek and then saw them come back from a goal behind to beat Cagliari 2-1 thanks to two Diego Milito strikes. Asked about Barça's domination of their Champions League match, the Internazionale coach said: "Our keeper touched the ball three times. He came off the pitch exhausted." He then criticised the Italian League for not ensuring all Champions League teams play on Saturday adding: "In other countries teams are protected but here no."
Player of the week... Alvaro Negredo
Former Real Madrid striker Negredo, who went to Hull and back in the summer without ever signing, scored his first goal for the club he eventually joined, Seville. Negredo, playing in place of Brazilian Luis Fabiano, hit the first in a 2-0 win at Osasuna.Reuse content