Beauty and the Beast: Messi & Paulinho symbolise Valverde's Barcelona

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The Argentine attacker netted a brilliant poker at Camp Nou, while the Brazilian midfielder also scored and was effective again for the Blaugrana

A new FC Barcelona is starting to take shape. Ernesto Valverde's side have played five and won five so far in La Liga and on Tuesday, the Blaugrana hit six superb goals at Camp Nou - inspired mainly by two men: Lionel Messi and Paulinho.

Messi's magic is expected at Barca's famous home and it was there in abundance again as the Argentine hit an amazing poker to surpass 300 goals at the stadium for the Catalan club. And Paulinho, on his first start for the Blaugrana, was also on target in an effective display.

Barcelona 17/20 to win La Liga

Eibar pressed persistently in the first half and gave Barca plenty to think about, Valverde's side needing a penalty from Messi won by Nelson Semedo to open the scoring, before Paulinho made it two when he headed home a corner.

The Brazilian midfielder, an unpopular signing when he arrived for €40 million from Guangzhou Evergrande last month, silenced some of his critics with an impressive winner late on against Getafe on Saturday and scored here for the second match in a row.

Barca Eibar score

It was difficult to see in the first half just what Paulinho offered to Barca's creative play in midfield. However, the 29-year-old is a physical presence who can cover plenty of ground and he is also a useful goal threat for the Liga leaders.

In the second half, however, Paulinho showed he can link up intelligently as well. The Brazilian's brilliant dummy set Messi free in the lead-up to Barca's third, which was scored by Denis Suarez, and he also participated in the Argentine's third of the night with a neat one-two before the five-time Ballon d'Or winner placed a fabulous finish into the bottom corner when he had appeared off balance.

It was wonderful by Messi and the 30-year-old scored a fourth with just a few minutes remaining to round off a spectacular showing from him personally. For the fans watching at Camp Nou, however, his association with Paulinho will also have been especially encouraging - even more so now that record summer signing Ousmane Demebele is sidelined for the remainder of 2017 with a thigh injury.

Gerard Deulofeu Lionel Messi Barcelona

Messi Barcelona Eibar defenders

Gerard Deulofeu was willing in Dembele's position, but the Catalan winger is still not quite up to speed with the rest of his team-mates since returning to the club in the summer.

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Denis did well, though, and scored for a second successive match - just like Paulinho - to show he can be an important player for Valverde in 2017-18 and beyond.

"It's a pleasure to watch Messi play and to play with him," he said afterwards. "He's the best in the world." And on Paulinho, he added: "He scored a good goal from a header, which is a speciality for him, and he worked hard all night."

With Dembele sidelined and Luis Suarez rested, Denis has emerged as an excellent stand-in, while it already looks like Messi and Paulinho are the symbols of Valverde's new-look Barca team in a mixture of brilliance, brawn and effectiveness. Beauty and the beast.

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