The Catalans came from behind to earn three points thanks to a second-half double from the Argentine, and earned plaudits from the Blaugrana boss
Vilanova's men were a goal down to the hosts for the majority of the game, but it was the Argentine's two goals that eventually won the day.
Speaking after the match, the Barca coach said of his talisman: "Messi always gives us a 10, but even when is a nine, he still scores goals. I think he played well."
Vilanova also praised the performance of the home side, who proved to be a stern test until Messi took centre stage.
He continued: "Osasuna are a tough opponent. The crowd were what we expected. They played well into the second half, and made it complicated, but we still had enough chances to win the game."
The referee handed Vilanova his marching orders after apparently taking offence to some of the comments being made on the touchline, and the coach remarked: "I told the linesman it was a clear foul, apparently that's a reason to send someone off. The other coaches are warned."
Barca's next outing is the second leg of their Supercopa clash against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday evening.