Messi hits hat-trick as Barcelona crush Manchester City at Camp Nou
Champions League, Camp Nou - Barcelona 4 (Messi 17, 61, 69; Neymar 89) Manchester City 0
Lionel Messi's hat-trick ensured Pep Guardiola's latest return to Barcelona ended in defeat as Manchester City went down 4-0 at the Nou Camp in an enthralling Champions League contest that saw both teams end with 10-men.
The talismanic Argentine, so often the hero during Guardiola's reign with the Catalan giants, gave his old mentor a reminder of his devastating prowess in front of goal with three well-taken efforts before Neymar made amends for a penalty miss with a last-minute fourth.
City were very much in the match at 1-0 but the complexion changed six minutes into the second period when Claudio Bravo was sent off on his return to his former club, after handling a Luis Suarez shot outside the box.
Lionel Messi - Hat-trick hero v Manchester CityImago
Barcelona took control from there with Messi notching his 37th treble for his club to move the Catalans five points clear at the top of Group C.
Jeremy Mathieu saw red for two cautions in quick succession but by that point the game was up for the Citizens.
Despite seeing his side enjoy good spells with a 'false nine' formation prior to Bravo's red card, Guardiola will have to face questions about his decision to start star striker Sergio Aguero on the bench while Joe Hart's departure looks even more dubious given his replacement's nervy start to life at the Etihad.
Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their first goal against Manchester CityReuters
Pep's homecoming hell: After the emotion and the fanfare came the sobering reality check. Guardiola was all-conquering as Barcelona boss and enjoyed plenty of domestic success at Bayern - but City no doubt provides his biggest test in management and there are some question marks over whether he can take them to the very top.
Tactically, City nullified Barcelona until Bravo's sending off, but defensively they looked woeful and that's what ultimately cost them. Many supporters will rightly be wondering why Joe Hart was shown the door and starting the best striker in the Premier League on the bench doesn't seem so clever after a 4-0 humbling. Perhaps the most worrying element of this defeat for Guardiola is that City played well for long spells but made some big mistakes and could have lost by more in the end.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Lionel Messi (Barcelona). The forward wasn't at his scintillating best but still provided the key moments in the match. Three clinical finishes and a tidy assist aren't a bad night's work by anyone's standards. There's life in the 'old' dog yet and Guardiola may well regret his pre-match comments to BT Sport about Messi 'not being young anymore.'
17' - GOAL! BARCELONA 1-0 MAN CITY. Barcelona lead. Messi races onto a loose ball in the area to round Bravo and tuck home after Fernandinho had slipped trying to cut out Iniesta's return pass to the Argentine.
45' - MAN CITY CHANCE! City should be level. Stones meets a left-wing free kick at the far post but heads wide.
53' - MAN CITY RED CARD! Bravo has a nightmare. He comes off his line and out of his box, gifts it to Suarez and then handles the striker's attempted lob. Easy decision for the referee. Terrible return to the Camp Nou for the ex-Barca keeper.
61' - GOAL! BARCELONA 2-0 MAN CITY. Messi doubles his tally as he cuts in on his left foot and places it low into the bottom right-hand corner from 20 yards out.
69' - GOAL! BARCELONA 3-0 MAN CITY. Hat-trick for Messi. The man Guardiola said was 'not young anymore' in his pre-match interview comes back to haunt his old boss in devastating style, tucking in Suarez's unselfish cutback.
74' - BARCA RED CARD! Crazy challenge from Mathieu. Having just been booked he launches into a sliding challenge on the wing and upends Sterling. It's a second yellow and he's off!
87' - PENALTY SAVE! Neymar takes an eternity with his run up but can't psyche out Caballero who dives to his right and pushes it to safety. Messi had won the spot kick after jinking into the area and being tumbled by Otamendi.
89' - GOAL! BARCELONA 4-0 MAN CITY. Neymar makes amends for his penalty miss, taking a pass from Messi and dancing into the area before tucking a low shot beyond Caballero.
Real Madrid (9) are the only team to score more hat-tricks than Lionel Messi (7) in the Champions League.
Messi has scored more Champions League goals against English clubs (16) than he has against sides from any other nation.
Man City have had a player sent off in four of their five previous Champions League meetings with Barcelona.
Messi is the top scorer in home games in Champions League history with 50 in total.
Messi scored his seventh hat-trick in the UCL, two more than Ronaldo. It is his 41st career hat-trick, one fewer than Ronaldo