Left-back Alba paid tribute to Messi post-match after the Blaugrana got their La Liga title defence off to a fine start, overcoming Alaves 3-0 at the Camp Nou on Saturday night.
And Alba claims no player will ever replicate the 31-year-old’s feats.
“Leo makes the difference all the time,” said Alba.
“He hits perfection every year. We’ll never see another like him.”
Messi has firmly established his status as one of the game’s all-time greats, having won five Ballon d’Or awards.
Ernesto Valverde’s side found it tough to break down the visitors on Saturday, although two moments of Messi magic helped seal a 3-0 win.
Messi put a free-kick under the wall in the 64th minute to give Barca the advantage, before slotting home in injury time after Philippe Coutinho had extended the lead.
Alba was not alone in hailing Messi, who’s opener was Barcelona’s 6,000th La Liga goal.
Sergio Busquets said: “It was quite hard, until Messi appeared with his work of art.”
Sergi Roberto quipped: “Leo is still up to his tricks.”
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.