One that never moved and might never leave and one that keeps on switching teams. Lionel Messi, like all of Barcelona, had no problem impressing and scoring a hat-trick in an 8-0 win over Raja Casablanca while Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his PSG debut, scoring in under three minutes as his new team drew 1-1 with DC United.
Barcelona played their second friendly of the preseason in Tangier, having no problem whatsoever, unlike their 2-1 win over Hamburg (without Messi) or like the trouble a second unit type lineup for Real Madrid had against Benfica, losing 2-5.
The first half was all Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi. Sanchez opened the scoring before Messi caught on fire, scoring twice in the space of four minutes. Another Sanchez goal made it 4-0 and a Sanchez assist gave Messi the hat-trick before half time. The second half was about letting the frustrated Dani Alves, no one’s exactly sure from what, get on the score sheet from the penalty spot. Youngsters Sergi Gomez and Gerard Deulofeu finished the job for Barcelona, looking to retrieve at least one of the major titles they lost last season.
For Zlatan Ibrahimovic it wasn’t as spectacular of a debut, as PSG couldn’t find too much firepower and beat DC United but still, their new crown jewel did score a lightning quick opening goal on his debut for his new team, so there’s enough to be happy about. Ibra got the ball in the box after a nice combo of passing and showed his usual skill in a tight spot to conjure an impressive finish with his left foot.
Who’ll have the bigger season? Well, the roles both players have are a bit different, and the expectations are somewhat different as well. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is the centerpiece in PSG’s attempted return to French domination. The club hasn’t won the league title since 1994, although they were closer than ever last season, falling short while Montpellier stunned the league. The Champions League is just as important, but not necessarily winning it. Just showing that they’re a force to be reckoned with in Europe.
For Messi and Barcelona, it’s about returning the titles – the La Liga championship and the Champions League, while trying to adapt to a new head coach in Tito Vilanova and finding a way to be a little bit less reliant on Lionel Messi, who scored 73 goals in all competitions last season, breaking every possible scoring record, but not enough for more than a Spanish Cup.