Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick and Lionel Messi bagged two as Barcelona started their defence of their Spanish league title with a 6-2 destruction of Real Betis on Saturday.

Suarez, who was league top scorer with 40 goals last season, took advantage of some sloppy defending, while Messi struck twice with his left foot from outside the area.

"Today we wanted to show everyone why we are the champions," Suarez said.

"It was so important for us to make a good start today, and that is exactly what we have done."

The Uruguayan striker was quick to pay tribute to partner-in-crime Messi, saying: "Leo is the best player in the world, without a doubt.

"It's a real privilege to play with him. He makes everything look so easy."

Barca's opening goal was put away by in-form Arda Turan, before veteran Ruben Castro equalized for Betis with a fierce free-kick.

Castro scored a second consolation goal for the visitors at the end, after Suarez and Messi, who was captain in place of the injured Andres Iniesta, had completed their demolition job.

Barca had 29 shots on goal and would have scored even more goals were it not for a string of saves from Betis keeper Antonio Adan.

"Barcelona are a wonderful team," Castro said.

"They are so difficult to play against. They are putting you under pressure for the whole 90 minutes, forcing you into making mistakes."

Meanwhile, Barca coach Luis Enrique said: "This was almost a perfect match for us.

"The boys looked keener than ever today. Their collective level was extremely high."

Defender Samuel Umtiti and midfielder Denis Suarez made good league debuts for Barca, while Arda took advantage of the absence of Neymar - playing for Brazil at the Olympics - to stake his claim for a starting place.

It was probably the last match at the Camp Nou for Barca's  keeper Claudio Bravo. After the game, the club's sporting director Robert Fernandez said an agreement had been reached for the sale of the Chilean veteran to Manchester City.

Later Saturday, Villarreal's chaotic start to the season continued with a disappointing 1-1 draw at Granada.

Samuel Castillejo gave Villarreal the lead on the hour, only for Ezequiel Ponce to immediately level for Granada.

Villarreal parted company with coach Marcelino Garcia last week then lost 2-1 at home to Monaco in the play-offs for the Champions League.

Saturday's late game was to bring together Sevilla and Espanyol.

Related stories

Messi returns in style as Barcelona enjoy 4-0 rout

Barcelona cruise to Super Cup with another defeat of Sevilla

Barcelona go top with 5-0 romp in Gijon, ahead of Real match

Slick Barcelona win 2-0 in Super Cup first leg

Hat-trick for Suarez as leaders Barcelona thump Celta 6-1

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.