Barcelona will look to continue their blistering form when they take on Atletico Madrid in Wednesday’s first leg of the Supercopa de Espana.
Gerardo Martino’s reign at Camp Nou got under way in stunning fashion on Sunday as Barca thrashed Levante 7-0.
Lionel Messi showed no sign of the hamstring injury that had hampered his pre-season, scoring twice, and will hope to add to his career tally of 20 goals against Atleti, having netted more against them than any other club.
Cesc Fabregas also returned from an ankle injury to star against Levante, although Martino is still without experienced defender Carles Puyol (knee), while young attacker Cristian Tello (hamstring) remains a doubt.
Atletico started their season with an impressive 3-1 win away to Sevilla as Diego Costa netted a double.
The Brazilian rejected advances from Liverpool to sign a new deal at the Estadio Vicente Calderon in the close-season and will hope to replace the goals previously scored by Radamel Falcao for Atleti, after the Colombian’s move to Monaco.
Despite a strong start to the season, however, Atletico manager Diego Simeone was not so enthused.
The former Argentina midfielder believes Barca and Real Madrid are too strong for any Liga sides to catch, which makes the Spanish top flight a “boring” competition.
When asked if his side could compete domestically this term, Simeone firmly said: “No, absolutely no. Madrid and Barcelona play in a different league.
“This is a boring championship for the rest of the supporters who can only aspire to be third or fourth.
“We’ll have to wait for a different distribution of television money because now the league is only of two.”
David Villa could line up against his former Barcelona colleagues for the first time, but midfielder Tiago is lacking fitness after injury forced him to miss a chunk of pre-season.
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