Many were surprised at Valverde's decision to drop the Barcelona No 7, particularly given how he impressed towards the tail end of last season.
"I had no idea he was going to shoot like that, for us it's spectacular that he has such a range of options", said Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets.
While Coutinho impressed, it was Messi who dominated the headlines in Catalonia this morning.
And Valverde was full of praise for his skipper.
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Maradona told Ole that the FA should leave Messi in Europe for the time being.
"It's a pleasure to have him playing for us, he never fails to surprise".
"Sometimes we get too used to seeing it, he does things like he did today and we want him to pull a rabbit of the hat every time".
"I'd give Messi room to breathe, a break".
Earlier on Saturday, Real Sociedad capitalised on two defensive errors to come from behind and win 2-1 at Villarreal, who saw Santi Cazorla make his first competitive appearance since October 2016 after recovering from a serious foot injury.
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Nikola Vlasic joined CSKA Moscow on Wednesday and Muhamed Besic, Cuco Martina and Yannick Bolasie are all heading for the exit. He expects the 21-year-old, however, to prove money well spent. "We think he can be very special".