Barcelona began their pre-season friendly against Santos with record signing Neymar on the bench – though they still thrashed the Brazilian side 8-0 at the Nou Camp.
Neymar joined Barcelona from Santos in the summer for £48.5m, but he had to make do with a spot among the substitutes to start with alongside Manchester United target Cesc Fabregas.
The former Arsenal captain did manage to get on and score a second-half brace though after Alexis Sanchez, Pedro and Lionel Messi gave Barcelona an early advantage. Adriano, Jean Marie Dongou and a Leo own goal completed the rout as Neymar was introduced midway through the match.
His arrival was greeted with cheers from the home fans, but one onlooker decided to confront the young Brazilian by running onto the pitch. Wearing Santos’ rivals Internacional clothing, he had to be dragged away from Neymar before the match could resume, much to the astonishment of Neymar himself.
Barcelona have endured a mix set of results during their pre-season, after a loss to Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich was followed up by an easy win against Valerenga and a 2-2 draw with Lechia Gdansk.
Friday’s match though was their first with new manager Gerardo ‘Tato’ Martino in charge after he missed the trip to Poland earlier in the week.
World player of the year Messi opened the scoring in the eighth minute before Dani Alves’ cross was turned into his own net by Leo to double the score.
Messi then set up Chilian winger Sanchez and Pedro ensured they went into half-time with a comfortable advantage after Jordi Alba did well to cut-back to his fellow Spaniard.
The introduction of Fabregas saw him rewarded with two goals, and he could have had a third with a free-kick that went close. Adriano added the seventh as he continues his reputation for scoring goals from defence with a curling effort in the 75 minute, and teenager Dongou – who the Catalan club have high hopes for – completed the comfortable win to get Martino’s reign off to a positive start.
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