Fabregas lauds Messi after debut goal

BARCELONA - Cesc Fabregas described playing with Lionel Messi as "awesome" after the Argentine World Player of the Year set him up to score for Barcelona against Villarreal on his home debut in La Liga on Monday.

The former Arsenal captain, who returned to his boyhood club this month after eight years with the English Premier League side, raced on to Messi's pass just before half-time, rounded goalkeeper Diego Lopez and slotted into the empty net to put the champions 2-0 ahead.

A recruit at Barca's youth academy at the same time as Fabregas, Messi later added two more goals as the Catalan club romped to a 5-0 victory.

"It's a pleasure playing with him," Fabregas told reporters.

"You know you can give him the ball at any moment and he'll decide the match on his own. It's awesome."

The pair, both 24, already look to have created a formidable partnership as Barca seek a fourth straight Spanish league title and a third Champions League crown in four years this season.

Fabregas volleyed a brilliant goal from a Messi assist in Barca's 2-0 European Super Cup win over Porto on Friday.

"Time will tell if I carry on scoring," Fabregas said. "For the moment I have a lot of desire to do things well and I am very happy on the pitch."