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Lionel Messi scores for the first time in a dramatic turnaround to stay in Barcelona

Lionel Messi scores for the first time since dramatic U-turn to stay in Barcelona as the willing Argentinian hits an impressive brace in the exhibition game against Girona.

  • Lionel Messi proved his contract story is firmly behind him when he scored a brace
  • Two goals from outside the area, one left foot, one right, helped Girona down
  • These are the first goals Messi has scored since agreeing to stay with the club
  • Philippe Coutinho had the enviable task of scoring the opener with a tap-in

Any fear that Lionel Messi’s mind could be elsewhere this season, after reluctantly agreeing to stay with the club this summer, were quashed with a stunning brace against Girona.

Messi had been pushing hard for a move to Manchester City, a reunion with longtime boss Pep Guardiola, only for the club board and LaLiga to stick to his € 700m (£ 630m) release clause.

He announced that he would stay this season, retained the team captaincy and showed on Wednesday-evening that he is not at all distracted on the field with two impressive outside-of-the-box attacks at the Johan Cruyff Stadium.

Lionel Messi (right) put down another masterclass when he scored twice in a friendly against Girona

Lionel Messi (right) put down another masterclass when he scored twice in a friendly against Girona

His first came with his right foot before his second, on his left foot, pushed them forward 3-1

His first came with his right foot before his second, on his left foot, pushed them forward 3-1

His first came with his right foot before his second, on his left foot, pushed them forward 3-1

These were Messi's first strikes since he demanded to leave the club this summer

These were Messi's first strikes since he demanded to leave the club this summer

These were Messi’s first strikes since he demanded to leave the club this summer

Messi’s burofax at the club caused shock waves through the sports world when he demanded that he be allowed to leave the club – leaving for nothing in his mind.

That didn’t work out and although he initially boycotted the pre-season tests and then trained to increase the pressure, the club held out and Messi eventually admitted that he would play a role in Ronald Koeman’s time.

And he was back in his old way in Barcelona’s second exhibition game with a masterclass performance.

More to follow.

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