David Villa scored in his first competitive appearance since 2011 and Lionel Messi netted a brace as Barcelona thrashed Real Sociedad in new coach Tito Vilanova’s Primera Division debut in the Nou Camp hot-seat .
Villa, who missed the second half of last season and Euro 2012 after breaking his leg in December, netted after appearing as a late substitute to complete the win as Barca showed it was business as usual despite this summer’s departure of record-breaking coach Pep Guardiola.
Earlier, during a frenetic start which saw four goals scored in the opening 16 minutes, Barca charged into a 3-1 lead with Carles Puyol – who also missed Spain’s triumphant Euro 2012 campaign through injury – notching the first.
Sociedad briefly drew level when Gonzalo Castro netted but Messi then struck twice in five minutes to put the home side two goals clear.
Pedro Rodriguez then added a fourth before the break before Villa climbed off the bench to also get his name on the scoresheet as Vilanova’s men made an impressive start to their Primera Division campaign.
Madrid, who ended Barca’s three-year reign as champions last season, could only start their defence with a 1-1 home draw with Valencia.