They’re a club that are used to breaking records, and Barcelona broke another one in their opening fixture of the 2018/19 La Liga season on Saturday night – assembling their most expensive substitute’s bench ever.
Never before in the history of the club had they had so many millions sitting next to their coach on the bench for the game against Alaves.
Ernesto Valverde stuck with a starting line-up that had largely contributed to lifting the La Liga crown last term, with all of his summer additions sat together on the Camp Nou bench.
Among them was the most expensive signing in the club’s history, Philippe Coutinho, who was called upon to make the difference in the opening clash of the season, with the hosts eventually sauntering to a 3-0 win, but only after Lionel Messi had opened the scoring in the 64th minute.
Coutinho emerged to seal the points seven minutes from time, with Barca icon Messi wrapping up the win in stoppage time.
In total, the sum of money paid for the seven subs totalled €294 million.
Dutch back-up goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen was the cheapest at €13m, while Coutinho, obviously, was the most expensive at a whopping €155m.
Brazilian winger Malcom (€41m), French defender Clement Lenglet (€35m), another Brazilian Arthur (€31m) and Chile veteran Arturo Vidal (€19m) made up the star-studded subs’ bench.
And that was just for six players too, with the seventh, Rafinha, a product of the club’s youth system who didn’t cost a thing.
Hello, Barcelona fans! The Sport360 team are here bringing you the latest news from the Camp Nou.
9:30pm – Sergio Busquets hopes Real Madrid will struggle
The Spanish midfielder hopes Los Blancos will have a poor season after selling Cristiano Ronaldo last month. Read what he said here.
4:30pm – Barcelona to wait until next summer to sign Paul Pogba
The La Liga champions are prepared to play the waiting game to sign Paul Pogba from Manchester United, according to reports. The Frenchman has been strongly linked with a move to the Nou Camp. Read more on that story here.
11.30am – Valverde lavishes praise on Messi
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde praised his players’ patience as they got their season off to a winning start.
Read more, here.
11am – Things learned from Camp Nou
Our Spanish football expert Andy West brings you his things learned from the match.
Read more, here.
10:30am – Barcelona player ratings from last night’s match
Barcelona are back and so is Lionel Messi.
The Argentine scored the Blaugrana’s 6,000th goal La Liga as the defending champions secured a 3-0 win over Alaves at the Camp Nou on Saturday.
Messi swept in a delightful free-kick midway through the second half before substitute Philippe Coutinho curled home a superb superb second before the Barca captain doubled his tally late one.
Here, we rate both sides as Ernesto Valverde’s side kicked off their defence with a comfortable victory.
The Portuguese completed his move to the Serie A champions last month as Los Blancos look to begin life without their most prolific players.
Real Madrid open their La Liga campaign against Getafe later on Sunday night and Busquets hopes their rivals will struggle although he believes coach Julen Lopetegui will make them a competitive side.
“I hope they miss him and notice the lack of goals,” he told El Pais. “But I know his coach and he will make Madrid more of a team.”