A brilliant Barcelona display spearheaded by Lionel Messi and Sergino Dest inspired a 6-1 decimation of Real Sociedad in the club's first game since a changing of the presidential guard at the Camp Nou.
Coined by Joan Laporta as a new era for the club, Blaugrana began proceedings in style at the Anoeta Stadium and their Argentine icon ran the show - as he has so many times before - in a game where he became Barcelona's record appearance holder with 768.
Chipping in with two goals and an assist, Messi took his goal contribution tally to 27 so far in 2021, continuing his marvellous run as European football's most in-form player as Ronald Koeman's side continue to breathe down the neck of Atletico Madrid in the La Liga title race.
As he continues to ponder his future in Catalonia, a league and cup double for the Argentine could be the difference maker in him staying at the Barca for another season at least, but before the crucial cup final clash with Real Sociedad, he must first focus on closing the gap on Diego Simeone's men.
Relegation-threatened Real Valladolid lay next on Barcelona's path to the title, a club Messi knows all too well - and should the iconic number 10 emulate his previous performances against them, Laporta's reign should see a second consecutive win.
Tip of the fixture
Messi has never lost to Los Pucelanos at the Camp Nou in his career, winning all four of the games he has played against them and scoring five goals, leaving him with an immaculate win ratio of 100%.
Additionally, the Argentine's overall record against Valladolid shows some impressive numbers, winning 10 of the 12 games he has played against them, drawing and losing once each, averaging out at 83% overall.
With eight goals and seven assists against his opposition, he averages 1.5 goal contributions per game against the Estadio Jose Zorrilla outfit.
The eight in question make Messi Barcelona's joint-top scorer against Real Valladolid, tying him with Spanish striker Julio Sanislas, who played for Blaugrana for six years between 1988 and 1994.
He has recorded more than one goal and an assist on four occasions, including a brace in 2010 and a replication of this just under a decade later in 2019.
Messi has 23 goals and 10 assists in La Liga, and after continuing his run of contributing to at least one goal in every league game so far in 2021, he'll be hopeful of continuing this on Monday.
FC Barcelona 5-1 Real Valladolid
October 29, 2019
Four goal contributions for Messi inspired a 5-1 victory for Blaugrana at the Camp Nou to regain their place at the top of the La Liga table as they thrashed Valladolid in style.
The hosts took an early lead through French centre-back Clement Lenglet, who struck a thunderous half-volley that looped off the crossbar and into the back of the goal, but their lead only lasted 12 minutes as Valladolid pulled one back through Kiko.
Having taken the lead in style, Barcelona regained it in a similar fashion, a superb lofted pass from Messi landed perfectly at the feet of Arturo Vidal, and the Chilean made no mistake in finding the net.
After architecturally crafting the first goal, the Argentine made it 3-1 with a finish of the highest order - striking a pinpoint free-kick up and over the wall and into the top-right corner of the goal.
Rounding off an illustrious display, Barcelona's brilliant number 10 completed his brilliant brace before providing for Luis Suarez, who topped off the five-goal rout in emphatic fashion.
Real Valladolid 0-3 FC Barcelona
December 22, 2020
In addition to the celebrations of Barcelona's 3-0 away win over Real Valladolid was a unanimous celebration for a undeniable club legend as Messi surpassed Pele's record of most goals for a single club with his 644th for the Catalonian giants.
Prior to the historic strike, the Argentine played a key role in Barcelona's first two goals, with his curling cross finding Clement Lenglet, who leapt high to power home the opener and his exquisite pass starting off the move for Martin Braithwaite to score the second.
Eventually, his selflessness was rewarded with a goal of his own, teenage starlet Pedri cleverly backheeled the ball to Messi, who steadied his touch before slotting the ball past Jordi Masip.
Messi broke the illustrious record in style, meeting the goal tally in four fewer seasons than the legendary Brazilian striker, who scored 643 goals for Santos between 1956 and 1974.
FC Barcelona 4-0 Real Valladolid
May 6, 2010
In a game of two tales, Messi ran riot to crown Barcelona as champions in style as the Camp Nou outfit finished on 99 points, meanwhile a devastating loss for Real Valladolid saw them subsequently relegated to the Segunda Division.
After a cagy opening 20 minutes where the implications of the result were clearly apparent, the hosts eventually broke the deadlock after a number of chances from both sides - Luis Prieto slid Pedro's low-driven cross into his own goal, much to the dismay of himself and his team-mates.
Just four minutes later and Pep Guardiola's side had made it two, Messi played through Pedro who chipped in with a goal of his own after being largely involved in the first.
Despite large spells of domination in possession and chance creation, Barcelona didn't find a third until the hour mark, when Messi converted an instinctive ball from Yaya Toure after a surging run from the Ivorian.
Fourteen minutes later and he had linked up with Toure again, after receiving a ball from the midfield powerhouse, Messi jinxed through two Valladolid defenders with ease and slotted home Blaugrana's fourth, to score his 34th La Liga goal of the season aged just 23.