Spanish giant Barcelona kicked off its four-match U.S. tour with a comprehensive 6-0 thrashing of David Beckham's Inter Miami Tuesday.
The win was a double delight for the Catalans, coming just hours after the Catalans completed a deal to sign Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.
In the match, newly signed Raphinha marked his debut with a goal and two assists.
The Brazilian, signed from Premier League Leeds United earlier this month for around $60 million, capped a promising first outing for his new club with a well-taken first-half strike after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had given the La Liga giant the lead at a sold-out Drv Pnk Stadium.
With fellow new signing Robert Lewandowski not involved ahead of his official unveiling in Miami Wednesday – following his move from Bayern Munich – it was left to Raphinha, 25, to get the thousands of Barcelona fans in attendance excited about the future.
"I was very happy to score my first goal and to play well and I hope that continues," Raphinha said. "This is a system which favors me and I think I can really help the team moving forward."
The Brazilian was making his debut alongside fellow newcomer Andreas Christensen, who left Chelsea at the end of the season and both were impressive against Phil Neville's side.
Predictably, Barcelona dominated possession against the MLS team and former Arsenal forward Aubameyang went closest on 15 minutes to opening the deadlock when his close-range effort flashed past the post.
There was no denying him soon after when he coolly chipped the ball past Inter Miami keeper Nick Marsman following good work from Pedri and then Raphinha.
And on 25 minutes it was Raphinha's turn to get on the scoresheet, the Brazilian expertly guiding home an Alejandro Balde cross to double Barcelona's lead.
It was completely one-way traffic and Raphinha capped a good night's work with another assist just before halftime, teeing up Ansu Fati who expertly smashed home from close range.
"It was a big challenge for us, we were playing against world-class players, it was a brilliant occasion to be part of but from a playing point of view, this was something to enjoy," Neville said.
"Some young players would have taken a lot away from an experience like that. This could be life-changing for some of our team. We knew they would be on another level."
"We had to fight and accept they would have a lot of the ball and to keep it to 6-0 was a positive. This was a great learning experience for us but now we have to concentrate on MLS and a big game on Saturday against New York City."
Both teams made a raft of changes after the interval but the outcome was never in doubt, Gavi's excellent finish from a Memphis Depay corner making it four on 55 minutes before the Dutch forward produced a sublime turn and finish to make it 5-0.
Ousmane Dembele's driving run helped set up a sixth of the evening with 20 minutes remaining as Neville's side was completely outclassed.
"Their movements are hard to track, they can mix it up and they are world-class players and when you have so many on the pitch at one time, they make it very difficult for you," said USA international DeAndre Yedlin. "That's why they are one of the best teams in the world."
This was the first game of Barca's US tour which will see them face Real Madrid, Juventus and the New York Red Bulls before the start of the new La Liga season on August 12th.
Earlier, Barca confirmed the final agreement to sign Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich for 50 million euros ($51 million), including add-ons, on a four-year contract.
The Poland international traveled to Miami to meet his new teammates Sunday, the day after Barca confirmed they had struck an agreement in principle with Bayern.
Lewandowski subsequently passed his medical, with Bayern "officially" announcing his departure Tuesday.
Barca soon confirmed the transfer details for the talismanic striker, who will have a 500-million euro buyout clause.
The 33-year-old scored 50 goals across all competitions last season, the most across Europe's top five leagues, as Bayern lifted its 10th Bundesliga title in a row.
Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record by scoring 41 goals in a single season in the 2020-21 campaign, while his 43 league goals in 2021 serve as the record for a calendar year in Germany's top tier.
The forward's 312 Bundesliga goals are the second-most scored by any player in the competition's history, behind Muller (365), while he leaves Bayern having accumulated 344 goals and 57 assists across 375 appearances in all competitions.
Though Julian Nagelsmann was reluctant to let Lewandowski leave, he suggested Bayern's game plan will become more "unpredictable" after his departure.
"When someone like Robert plays up front, you play more crosses," he told reporters on Bayern's preseason tour in the U.S. "The way we're going to play will change. It's a new Bayern Munich.
"It will be a challenge – and I like challenges. It's good for everyone, we have to find new ways and be creative.
"In the past, it might have been easier for the opponent to prepare for our game. Now we're going to be even more unpredictable."