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Dublin: 17 °C Saturday 21 September, 2019
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Luis Enrique marvels at 'near perfect' Barcelona

The Spanish champions opened their campaign in impressive style.

LUIS ENRIQUE WAS left marvelling at his Barcelona team after a “near perfect” performance in Saturday’s 6-2 hammering of Real Betis.

The reigning champions blew their visitors away in emphatic fashion, as Luis Suarez netted a hat-trick and Lionel Messi added two of his own, with the star duo in unplayable form.

Barca had looked to be in a spot of bother after Arda Turan’s early opener was cancelled out by Ruben Castro’s thunderous free-kick, but the hosts rallied and were 3-1 up by the break.

Suarez added another two in the second period, with Messi doubling his tally with a fine long-range effort and Luis Enrique conceded he was in awe at the overall performance.

“The match was near perfect,” he told reporters. “Not just the football level, but on an emotional level too.

“I’ve seen the players play with more enthusiasm than ever. It was a complete game and I give them my congratulations, as well to the fans who were so animated in the stands.

“We see all the Camp Nou singing with pride and that makes us feel very well.”

The match also saw Arda’s renaissance continue as he scored his third goal in two games following a well-taken brace against Sevilla in the Supercopa de Espana on Wednesday and the coach believes he is finding his feet simply because he is happy.

“Arda can play well in both positions [in midfield and attack]. He gives us a lot of things,” he added. “He has to be very satisfied because it takes a lot to be this dynamic.

“We are seeing the real Arda. He is happy because he looks more integrated and pleased.”

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