Barcelona made the perfect start against Espanyol on Sunday, with Lionel Messi scoring with a majestic free-kick to break the deadlock.
The Catalan giants needed a positive start to ease any nerves that they might have been feeling prior to kick off on what is a crucial day in the La Liga title race.
Messi stepped up and delivered as he has done so on countless occasions for his side, with this brilliant set piece to spark wild scenes in the Camp Nou.
Luis Enrique’s side went into Sunday’s fixtures top of the table on goal difference over Atletico Madrid, while Real Madrid sit a point behind both teams.
With Fernando Torres striking the first blow for Atleti in their clash away at Levante, it wasn’t long before Barca produced their response with Messi leading the way.
Espanyol will be desperate to deal a title blow to their rivals, but it was far from the ideal start for the visitors who still need a point to end their slim fears of relegation.