(AFP) - Lionel Messi scored a quick-fire double as Barcelona cruised to a convincing 5-2 win over the K-League All Stars in a friendly at Seoul World Cup Stadium Wednesday.
The Argentinian superstar made his pre-season debut halfway into the game and scored two quick goals, giving his team the spark it needed to notch up an impressive victory.
Barca, dressed in the famous turquoise-coloured strip, looked rusty out of the blocks and were punished after a minute as Choi Sung-Guk scored the opening goal for the K-League All-Stars.
It did not take long for Barcelona to respond, however, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic conjured an equaliser in the sixth minute.
Messi was brought on in the 29th minute to loud applause from the 32,581 crowd.
But his introduction did not stop the K-League All Stars regaining the lead through a header from Lee Dong-Gook in the 36th minute.
That advantage proved short-lived as Messi showed his skills scoring off a pass from Eduard Oriol Garcia in the 42nd minute.
The diminutive Argentinian struck again three minutes later to give his team a one-goal lead at the end of the first half.
Messi and Ibrahimovic sat out the second half but a Barcelona team consisting of reserve players came out in full control and dominated possession with crisp passing.
The K-League All Stars managed to create a few chances but Victor Sanchez Mata added a goal in the 80th minute and Eduard Oriol Garcia scored three minutes later.
Messi's appearance in the friendly had been in doubt.
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola had said Tuesday that Messi -- whose World Cup ended in disappointment as Argentina were humbled 4-0 by Germany in the quarter-finals -- would not feature as he had just returned from holiday and was not match-fit.
However, following a hastily-arranged meeting with the promoters, the Catalan club issued a statement saying that Messi would play a role after all.
"The promoters of the tournament and Barcelona representatives held a meeting in which the matter of Leo Messi playing in the match was raised," read the statement.
"In the light of the good progress shown by the player in the last training session and that there will be another one before the match, the coaching staff believe that it is fine for the Argentinian striker to play for a few minutes of the match."
Comments in the Spanish press claimed that Messi's appearance came only because he was compelled to play for at least half-an-hour under the terms of the tournament contract -- otherwise Barcelona would receive no money.
|Benteke a ´bargain´ buy - Rodgers|
|Zola: Qatar would be ideal for Balotelli, Cassano|
|Suarez: I´m not among world´s best|
|PSG ready despite ´chaotic´ pre-season - Blanc|
|Arsenal thumping still hurts - Fournier|
|Aubameyang targets Champions League success|
|Rooney set for Everton return|
|Cech can match Van der Sar - Wenger|
|Mourinho ponders Wenger´s losing record against him|
|CBF confirm Fred failed a doping test|
|Bournemouth beaten by battling Cardiff|
|Immobile injury overshadows Sevilla win at Vicarage Road|
|Lambert at the double on West Brom bow|
|Real sign up Spain starlet Vallejo|
|Valencia blow for West Ham|
|Elche cleared to play in Segunda Division|
|Baker pens a new Villa deal|
|Lambert makes Albion switch|
|Gillingham and Scally found guilty of ´race victimisation´|
|Inter complete Jovetic signing|
|Arsenal v Chelsea: Mourinho cools Wenger rivalry ahead of Wembley meeting|
|Villa snap up Gestede|
|Villa land Veretout|
|Mourinho coy on fresh Stones bid|
|Aubameyang commits to Dortmund|
|Torres on the hunt for trophies with Atletico|
|Cazorla and Walcott sign new Arsenal deals|
|Quick start vital in Arsenal title bid - Wilshere|
|I have received no offers - Guardiola|
|Barcelona to monitor Turan injury|
|Zorc ´surprised´ by Grosskreutz-Tuchel row|
|Phil Neville could be England manager - Moyes|
|UEFA to investigate Shakhtar´s Fred selection|
|City loan Unal to Genk|
|China v South Korea: Stielike looking for new options|
|North Korea v Japan: Halilhodzic to unearth new faces|
|Drogba: I want to be ready, not a burden|
|Hamstrung Clasie in doubt for Southampton league opener|
|West Ham goalscorer Zarate bemoans Astra comeback|
|Negredo quashes Valencia exit rumours|
|´This is not my Sampdoria´ - president Ferrero|
|Criscito could join Inter - agent|
|CBF endorse Zico´s FIFA presidency campaign|
|Hawit to handle CONCACAF´s referee review|
|Falcao is a ´top, top player´ - Terry|
|Tuchel pleased by Dortmund fighting qualities|
|Premier League rules out schedule changes for Champions League clubs|
|UEFA Europa League Review: Southampton stroll as Sampdoria are humiliated|
|Koeman confident of Southampton progress|
|Bilic frustrated with Collins´ red card, Valencia injury|
|Bamford hits hat-trick in Bromley friendly|
|Southampton 3 Vitesse 0: Play-offs in sight for Koeman’s men|
|Wolfsberger 0 Borussia Dortmund 1: Tuchel begins tenure with narrow win|
|West Ham 2 Astra 2: Collins red allows visitors back in|
|Kukesi - Legia match abandoned|
|Joining Roma an ´easy decision´ - Szczesny|
|Chiriches joins Napoli from Spurs|
|Mihajlovic pleased with Milan improvements|
|Injured Chiellini to miss Supercoppa|
|Newcastle complete Mbemba swoop|
|Blackpool protest incurs FA fine|
|Scottish Premiership Preview: Dons seek to run Celtic closer|
|Paris Saint-Germain v Lyon: Ibrahimovic ready for season opener|
|Wolfsburg v Bayern Munich: De Bruyne centre of attention|
|Real Madrid 0 Milan 0 (10-9 on pens): Real lift second International Champions Cup|
|De Bruyne a doubt for Supercup clash|
|Reine-Adelaide needs time to blossom, says Walcott|
|Rodgers will not rush Ibe development|
|Napoli not interested in selling Higuain - De Laurentiis|
|Wilson agrees Bournemouth extension|
|Messi makes early Barcelona return|
|Ibrahimovic: My next move will be a very big surprise|
|Van Aanholt backs Lens to shine|
|Besiktas complete loan move for Gomez|
|McClaren: No decision on Coloccini future|
|Kane, Kaka hail goalkeeper Rimando|
|Chung eager to become FIFA president|
|Yedlin open to loan move|
|Tigres not scared of River trip - Ferretti|
|MLS Preview: Wright-Phillips, Lampard set to debut|
|´A draw is good for us´ - River´s Gallardo confident of Libertadores success|
|Di Maria poised for PSG switch - Blanc|
|Franjic: Bring on Bangladesh, Tajikistan|
|Van Gaal bemoans De Gea situation|
|MLS All-Stars 2 Tottenham 1: Kane stunner can´t spare Spurs|
|Manchester United 0 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Van Gaal´s defensive frailties exposed|
|Tigres UANL 0 River Plate 0: Visitors lose Gallardo in Copa Libertadores final first leg|
|Penedo parts ways with Galaxy|
|Benitez backs Mihajlovic, Milan to succeed|
|Barnetta joins Union in MLS|
|Allegri critical of Morata´s attitude|
|Franjic targets more A-League glory with City|
|Beto undaunted by Super Cup clash against Barca|
|Advocaat upbeat despite another Sunderland flop|
|McClaren praises Newcastle recruit Mitrovic|
|Payet will improve West Ham - Bilic|
|Pulis confirms interest in Lambert|
|Deila expects tough test in Baku|
|Drogba mobbed by Montreal Impact fans|