But once he found room to work, Messi picked Buffon's Juventus apart - to take some revenge from last year's elimination and continue his superb start to the current season. If not now, then it will be shortly.
When Miralem Pjanic asked Lionel Messi for his shirt at halftime, it was clear that Juventus was bowing down to Barcelona and its international cast of stars.
"The players change because that's how things go, but what counts are the results. He is a top-class fooballer, he always makes the difference and he also did it this past weekend against Espanyol", the Frenchman told Tuttosport.
Bartomeu has faced repeated calls for his resignation after Neymar's world record move to Paris Saint-Germain last month and Barca's bungled attempts to replace the Brazilian in the transfer market.
Valverde could hand a full debut to Dembele after the 105 million-euro Frenchman only came off the bench for the final 20 minutes against Espanyol. "Winning the Champions League can't be an objective, it is a dream". The game will kick-off at 19:45 BST / 14:45 ET on September 12, Tuesday.
The Argentine was also the catalyst for the second goal, forcing Juve to scramble the ball off the line and allowing Ivan Rakitic to shoot into an empty net in the 56th minute and add to his strike against Juve in the 2015 final.
"You can put Messi in any position and he can score goals", added Valverde, downplaying his decision to tinker with the forward's positioning.
Ernesto Valverde: "They have lost Bonucci but they remain a very strong, good team". Instead of Neymar, the Barca has replaced Ousamene Dembele.
After Pablo Dybala blazed a good chance over the crossbar early in the second-half, Juventus never looked threatening, as Messi started to influence the game more and more. They press high and we'll need to overcome everything they throw at us. I don't know what will happen in the future. The club members can rest easy.
Juve boss Max Allegri has tipped Dybala to align himself alongside Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to compete for player of the year honours.