By FOX SPORTS staff
The Catalan side kicked off their La Liga title defence in record-breaking style, treating new manager Martino to 7-0 victory over Levante in what was the largest ever winning margin on the league's opening day.
Man-of-the-match Cesc Fabregas was on Premier League champions Manchester United's shopping list, but chose to stay and thrilled the Barcelona fans with a stunning display which saw him involved in five of the seven goals, including an assist for Messi.
Before he was taken off in the 70th minute, Messi had completed a brace, and Martino told the club's official website that he was pleased to be afford the opportunity to give the Ballon d'Or winner time to rest.
"We’ve talked to Messi from the beginning. The season is long and this way he can rest if he doesn’t play every minute in a couple of matches. We came to an agreement quickly," Martino shared.
"Agreeing on substitutions beforehand is a complicated matter. No one would ever take Messi out of a match if the teams are evenly matched. But it can be done in matches where we take a big advantage, this way he can preserve his fitness."
There was also plenty of excitement surrounding Brazilian hot-shot Neymar's La Liga debut and vice-captain Xavi was satisfied with his new team-mate's display.
"Neymar is a good lad, he’s humble, he’s here to help and he’s capable of making a difference. His one-on-one ability can really help us," he pointed out.
Barcelona travel to Malaga for their next La Liga fixture on Sunday.