Barcelona wasted no time sticking the boot in on Cristiano Ronaldo after beating Juventus 2-0 on their own patch.
The Italian club were without their talisman for the Champions League group stage tie at the Stadio delle Alpi on Wednesday after Ronaldo returned another positive coronavirus test.
That left the stage free for Messi to run the show, and the Argentine needed no second invitation.
Barca’s skipper set up Ousmane Dembele for the opening goal after just 14 minutes before Messi added a second himself from the penalty spot in injury-time.
Posting an image of Messi on Twitter after the match, Barcelona’s social media team wrote: “We are glad you were able to see the [GOAT] on your pitch, @juventusfcen!”
Fans had been eager to see the two old Ballon d’Or rivals meet but will now have to wait until the return tie at the Nou Camp on December 8, providing both players are fit and available.
Ronaldo and Messi have long been vying for the subjective title of world football’s greatest of all time (GOAT), with the Barcelona forward currently edging his rival by six Ballon d’Or titles to five over their careers.
Portuguese superstar Ronaldo, 35, will have been even more downbeat about the result, particularly as he claimed he was in fine condition to perform.
He was forced into self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19 while on international duty on October 13.
Sadly for Ronaldo he has failed to shake off the virus, registering further positive tests last Thursday and Tuesday despite being assymptomatic.
Ronaldo wrote on his Instagram on Wednesday after being ruled out of the Barcelona clash: “Feeling good and healthy!”
He then added in the comments: “PCR IS BULL****”
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) is a common form of Covid-19 testing taken within a swab or saliva sample.
The win puts Barca top of Group G on a maximum six points after two games, with Juventus now trailing by three points in second.