MSG measuring up to MSN? Barca all-stars steal the show in Eibar win
Antoine Griezmann's sense the pass from Clement Langlet would coming was intuitive, his run that caused Eibar defender Pablo De Blasis to panic and clumsily fall instinctive.
But then, reality and the weight of the moment briefly seemed to afflict Barcelona's €120m forward.
This was the second time Griezmann, again lining up in a left-sided attacking role that does not come naturally to him, had started a LaLiga match alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
All three were on the field for the final half hour of Barca's 0-0 Champions League draw at Borussia Dortmund, along with the second half of the 2-0 loss at Granada. On their previous starts together, Messi made it way halfway through a 2-1 win over Villarreal, while victory against Inter was only secured after Griezmann's withdrawal.
The former Atletico Madrid favourite was an unused substituted for the 4-0 win over Sevilla that preceded an international break when he failed to find the net for France. And, at Eibar's wonderfully idiosyncratic Ipurua home, the signs up until the 13th minute had not been great.
Suarez is playing with a level of sharpness rarely spotted over the past 18 months, which is bad news for any designs Griezmann might have for operating in the middle of Barca's front three.
In the fifth minute of a lively opening to the contest, the Uruguay striker effortlessly spun Anaitz Arbilla to open up 45 yards of open space and possibilities, including Griezmann to his left.
Suarez instead opted for an audacious and poorly executed shot from a fanciful distance. Would a pass to Griezmann not have been a better option? True, an early dart from Barca's newest attacking recruit had already been headed off by Arbilla but it was hard to imagine seeing something so wild during the MSN days.
Messi. Suarez. Neymar. The trident to which the Blaugrana's latest all-star configuration is always likely to be compared. Messi has made no secret of the fact he wanted a reunion during the close season when it was clear Neymar's Parisian adventure had turned sour.
Three supreme soloists who slotted together irresistibly at their best. The clunk of Suarez swapping positions with Griezmann, only for Arthur's attempted pass to miss them both jarred by comparison.
It is worth remembering it was not instantly all milk and honey for Barca's South American superstars in 2014-15.
While Griezmann, Messi and Suarez will be able to iron out the kinks for a few more weeks before meeting Real Madrid, following Friday's El Clasico postponement, MSN made their collective debut at the Santiago Bernabeu and lost 3-1.
Next time out, there was a 1-0 defeat to Celta Vigo. Only in their third game together, where a Messi brace sealed a 2-0 win over Ajax in Amsterdam, did things start to click.
They were in full flight by the turn of the year, their early struggles eventually a forgotten blemish upon a magnificent treble. Those are lofty standards for a signing whose worth has already been extensively disputed to live up to.
And so, with Arbilla helpfully on his backside, Griezmann came over somewhat jittery. His feet, not quite sorting themselves out the other side of an anxious glance backwards to locate the rest of the Eibar defence.
He dug out a left-footed finish that lacked conviction but ended up in the net via goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic and the inside of his post. Suarez was the first to embrace his team-mate. Job done. Relief palpable.
From that point, Artur, Frenkie de Jong and Sergio Busquets gradually drew the sting from Eibar before squeezing the life from them. After the interval, it was time for the headline acts to have some fun.
In the 58th minute, Suarez twisted in a tight spot inside the Eibar area and shifted the ball inside to Griezmann, who saw and heard Messi darting around him. A deft one-touch lay-off left the mercurial Argentine with a simple finish.
In the 66th minute, it was Messi's turn to leave it on a plate for Suarez, having raced clear onto a throughball from Griezmann, who often roved slightly deeper to fine effect after the break.
That was 3-0 and game over. There will be tougher tests of their newly established union, but MSG showed enough at Ipurua to make Spain and Europe take note.