A Lionel Messi brace ensured Barcelona ended their pre-season campaign with a comfortable 3-2 victory over Sampdoria at Camp Nou that saw them lift the Joan Gamper Trophy.
Luis Enrique fielded a strong side that showed little of the defensive frailty that allowed Liverpool to hammer them 4-0 in the International Champions Cup on Saturday, and there were only 16 minutes on the clock when Messi performed an overhead kick in the box that was headed into the net from close range by Luis Suarez.
With Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza watching from the stands, Messi – who retired from international football following more Copa America heartache – made it two when he finished a move that he started himself, latching onto Ivan Rakitic’s chipped pass before rounding Sampdoria goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano to leave himself with a simple finish.
Sampdoria hit back quickly when a defensive error allowed Luis Muriel to break into the box and slide the ball past Claudio Bravo, but Messi restored Barcelona’s two-goal lead with a trademark free-kick that he bent past Viviano from all of 25 yards.
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The second half saw Sampdoria improve at the back, but Arda Turan almost added a fourth when he hooked a dipping shot onto the crossbar with Viviano well beaten.
The Serie A side grabbed a consolation goal when Ante Budimir chested the ball down and lashed a shot past substitute Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but Sampdoria’s late push for an equaliser went unrewarded as the hosts produced a strong final few minutes, with Suarez hitting the crossbar in injury time.