Neymar and Messi score in Roma friendly win


Neymar and Lionel Messi grabbed a goal each in the first half as Barcelona rolled over Roma 3-0 in the traditional Gamper Trophy pre-season match on Wednesday.

The pair returned late to training following the Copa America and this was their chance to show their form to Luis Enrique in the final friendly game ahead of the European Super Cup clash against Sevilla next Tuesday.

The chemistry that saw them, along with Luis Suarez, hit 122 goals in Barca’s treble success last season was evident from the start.

A deep Messi cross was knocked by Jeremy Mathieu into the stride of Neymar who opened the scoring from close range after 25 minutes.

Despite being a friendly, Messi and Roma defender Mapou Yanga-M’biwa were both booked in an ugly exchange when they went head-to-head and the referee could easily have shown a red card.

Neymar then set up Messi who drove the ball home from the edge of the area after 40 minutes.

The pair were among the players taken off after an hour before Ivan Rakitic hit a powerful drive into the top corner from 30 yards to wrap up the scoring after 65 minutes.

“The aim is to keep on the same lines as we were at the end of last season,” Rakitic told reporters.

“I feel strong and the team is working well. This was only a friendly but we still played to win as in any match.”

In the past the Gamper Trophy was the opportunity for Barca to introduce their new players to their fans but due to a FIFA transfer ban Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal were forced to watch the game and will not be available until January.

Following the clash with Sevilla, Barca play Athletic Bilbao home and away in the Spanish Super Cup before they meet Bilbao in their first La Liga game on Aug. 23.