Both Barcelona and Juventus succumbed to heavy defeats to Real Madrid over the summer months.
Juventus were blitzed 4-1 in last season’s Champions League final then Barcelona went down 5-1 in aggregate in the Spanish Super Cup.
However, it was the home side who came up with the answers — and in formidable fashion.
Argentina frontmen Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala have started the season in brilliant goal scoring form, with their on-pitch battle forming another intriguing subplot.
But the five-time Ballon d’Or-winner showed why he is head-and-shoulders above the rest despite his diminutive stature with two stunning solo strikes.
Barcelona dominated possession in the early part of the first half — yet it was Marc-Andre ter Stegen who was the busier of the two goalkeepers.
Some last ditch defending prevented Dybala from getting a decent shot away while Messi attempted a cheeky free-kick under the wall, which came back to set up Luis Suarez, who was denied by a stunning Gianluigi Buffon save.
Ousmane Dembele, making his first start, also fired over when he could have done better.
But, with half-time looming, Juventus committed the fatal error of switching off while Messi had the ball on the edge of the box.
Barca’s No 10 took off on a solo run before firing in his first-ever goal against the great Buffon.
Messi, who was booked for waving an imaginary yellow card at the referee, then turned a provider of sorts as he set up Ivan Rakitic to make it 2-0.
His effort was cleared off the line and the Croatian followed up.
Yet, he saved his best until last.
Playing on the shoulder of the last man, Andres Iniesta played a perfect ball through, and Messi took out two defenders with one touch, before hitting his second past Buffon:
It could have been worse as Suarez capitalised on a horrific error from the Italy legend, only to see it chalked off for offside.