Barcelona, with new coach Gerard Martino at the helm, wasted no time in taking it to their sacrificial minnows. The Catalans made a meal of it from the get go as a brilliant tiki-taka series saw Cesc Fabregas passing past the sprawled Levante keeper Keylor Navas for an Alexis Sanchez tap in at the 3rd minute.
Nine minutes later Gerard Pique's long pass found Cesc at the top of Levante's half-moon and the Spanish international chested the ball into the path of Lionel Messi who immediately passed to Pedro on the left wing. The return pass found Messi alone in the box and with a tap in for his first goal of the season.
Twelve minutes later, and after it became obvious Barca were on and Levante were outclassed, Messi stole the ball from Levante defender David Navarro in the far right corner of the pitch and a series of easy passes later it was Dani Alves scoring the third, at the 24th minute of the game.
At this point the overwhelming Barca possession and the inept play from Levante, who were simply out of their depth, allowed the hosts to determine this was message time. Why not pile on the scoring and start the season with an easy and emphatic victory and a score line that will make all others play catch-up for a while to come.
So, two minutes after Alves' score, Messi's brilliant 35-yard blind pass found a streaking Pedro on the wing for an easy across goal score--Barcelona 4, Levante 0.
At the 41st minute the frustration that had been building spilled over in the form of a dumb Pedro Lopez trip on Sanchez at the top right corner of the box and right in front of the ref. The official whistled the obvious penalty. Messi powered the ball in for the fifth score of the half.
At the 45th minute another brilliant Fabregas chip pass ended up assisting Xavi Hernandez on the sixth goal of the half.
The second half was anticlimactic as the three highlights were Messi being sustituted, Neymar coming in at the 63rd minute for his official Barca debut, and Pedro's 73rd minute goal. The striker poached a pass sent back in error by Levante defender Hector Rodas who thought he was giving the ball to a teammate to put it back into play. The Barca players reacted as if the pass was putting the ball into play and the ref allowed the laugher. Barca 7, Levante 0 (http://bit.ly/1cRt6L0).
It was interesting to note that the star of the winner of the Confederations Cup final in July is thought to need time to adjust to Barca's style while each quarter hour stint simply proves a full time deployment would bear superior benefits.
So the champs are back into the swing of things and looking like the team they can be--so watch out.