After eight months off through injury, David Villa marked his return to Primera Liga football with a goal to help Barcelona on their way to a 5-1 win over Real Sociedad. Carles Puyol gave Barça an early lead, only to see Gonzalo Castro equalise less than 10 minutes later. Messi quickly restored the home side's lead, then Pedro finished off an excellent move to make it four, before Villa put the icing on the cake late on in the match.
Defending Champions Real Madrid faced a tougher challenge as they took onValencia in the Spanish capital. Gonzalo Higuain gave Real the lead after 10 minutes, but Jonas headed in an equaliser just before the break and Valencia managed to hold out for a hard-earned point.
The day's most thrilling match, however, was played out at the San Mamés, where Athletic Bilbao were eventually beaten 5-3 by Real Betis. The Basque side looked out of it when the visitors took a three-goal lead into interval, but Oscar de Marcos pulled one back before two Mikel San Jose headers levelled the score. But late goals from Pozuelo and Molina gave Betis a memorable win and spoiled the party for the home side.
Sevilla opened the new season with a hard-earned 2-1 win over Getafe thanks to goals from Fazio and Negredo.
Celta Vigo's return to the Primera Liga was spoiled by 16-year-old substitute, Fabrice Olinga, whose goal sealed Málaga's 1-0 success at Balaidos.
Israel international Tomer Hemed scored a brace to earn Mallorca a season-opening 2-1 win over Espanyol.