New Barça coach Gerardo Martino only had to wait three minutes for his team’s first goal of the campaign courtesy of Alexis Sánchez. Lionel Messi, last term’s 46-goal Liga top scorer, opened his account from close range before Daniel Alves consolidated the advantage.
Pedro turned goalscorer after 26 minutes and was upended in the area shortly before the interval: Messi converted from the spot. Xavi Hernández completed the first-half scoring and Pedro made it seven 17 minutes from time.
Carlo Ancelotti also enjoyed a winning start to life in Spain. On the back foot for long stretches, Betis took the lead against Madrid when Jorge Molina combined with Cedric and finished with aplomb. However, former Málaga schemer Isco marked his Madrid debut by teeing up Karim Benzema’s equaliser and powered in a header with four minutes left.
Athletic made a similarly good start to the campaign. Markel Susaeta gave them a 28th-minute lead at Valladolid and although Patrick Ebert equalised just three minutes later, Spanish Under-21 international Iker Muniain clinched maximum points five minutes after the break.
Elsewhere IValencia squeezed past Málaga thanks to a Ricardo Costa goal and Granada beat Osasuna 2-1.