Messi hat-trick takes Barcelona back to the top of La Liga
La Liga, Camp Nou - Barcelona 5 (Griezmann 7, Messi 17 41 83 Suarez 43) Real Mallorca 2 (Budimir 35 64)
Lionel Messi capped a Ballon d’Or-winning week in style, netting a hat-trick as Barcelona returned to the top of La Liga with a 5-2 win over Real Mallorca.
The Spanish champions came into this match having watched Real Madrid go top of La Liga earlier in the day with a win over Espanyol, but this was a statement victory from Barca as they once again leapfrogged their rivals.
It took the hosts just eight minutes to open the scoring when Antoine Griezmann chipped a finish into the back of the net after Dani Rodriguez had come close to opening the scoring for the visitors at the other end.
Barcelona doubled their lead when Messi finished from distance before Ante Budimir halved the deficit with a deflected strike which bounced off the bottom of Clement Lenglet’s boot and over Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
It didn’t take long for the Catalans to reassert their dominance, though, as Messi added another from outside the box before Luis Suarez scored a truly unique goal, chipping the goalkeeper with a back heel into the ground after a wonderful passing move involving Sergi Roberto and Frenkie de Jong.
Real Mallorca grabbed another through Budimir, but Messi capped the performance with a finish off the underside of the crossbar, completing his hat-trick and sending Barcelona back to the top of the league table with the first Clasico of the season nearing.
Leo Messi, Luis Suárez (Barcelona) celebrateGetty Images
This was Barcelona’s best performance of the season. Questions have been asked of Ernesto Valverde and Barcelona in recent weeks, but this performance should silence some critics. This was Barca’s best display of the season to date. They finished on five, but this could have been double figures. There was a fluidity to the Catalans’ attacking play which has been missing in a number of performances. This was much more like it from Barca as Real Mallorca took a bit of a beating.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Lionel Messi (Barcelona): Messi was presented with his sixth Ballon d’Or before kick off and this was a demonstration of why he is the best in the world right now and maybe the greatest of all time. The Argentine was in the mood from early on, scoring two stunning long-range efforts in the first half to put Barcelona 4-1 up at the break. Messi then completed his hat trick in the second half with another astonishing finish. He has gone from zero goals to the top scorer in La Liga in eight games.
Leo Messi (Barcelona)Getty Images
7’ WHAT A CHANCE FOR MALLORCA! The islanders probably should have found the back of the net! The corner kick fell at the feet of Rodriguez six yards out, but he sends his effort wide. Should be 1-0.
8’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Real Mallorca (Griezmann). That's cruel on Real Mallorca. Just seconds after they should have scored, they fall behind. Ter Stegen released Griezmann with a long pass up the field and the French attacker showed great composure to dink the finish over Reina.
17’ GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Real Mallorca (Messi). Wow! What a goal! Messi picks up the ball, turns, opens up the angle and then fires a strike from just over 20 yards out into the top corner of the Real Mallorca net! Exceptional strike from the great! So much power, so little backlift. Incredible.
30’ POST! How didn't that go in? Suarez took the touch inside the box, steadied himself for the shot, but then rattled his effort off the inside of the post and across the face of goal.
36’ GOAL! Barcelona 2-1 Real Mallorca (Budimir). The away side have got one back! The pass from Sevilla was excellent, Budimir takes a good touch and then gets the shot away. The effort took a massive deflection off Lenglet and then bounced over the head of Ter Stegen and into the back of the net.
42’ GOAL! Barcelona 3-1 Real Mallorca (Messi). Another one! You just knew that was happening as soon as the ball was at Messi's feet. Mallorca gave him too much space 20 yards out and the great man guided a stunning left-footed strike into the back of the net. What a finish from Messi. Best in the world.
43’ GOAL! Barcelona 4-1 Real Mallorca (Suarez). Another stunning Barcelona goal! This time it's Suarez! It was a well-worked passing move between Roberto and De Jong around the edge of the box, the pass was then played into Suarez and he backheels a finish into the back of the net! That was incredible!
65’ GOAL! Barcelona 4-2 Real Mallorca (Budimir). Real Mallorca have got another one and it's Budimir again! The visitors created the crossing opportunity down the left side with the ball swung in for Budimir, he jumped highest and beat Ter Stegen to the header, finding the back of the net.
84’ GOAL! Barcelona 5-2 Real Mallorca (Messi). There's the hat trick and that will be the points in the bag for Barcelona! The pass was played into Suarez, he played the ball back to Messi and the Argentine thwacked a finish into the back of the net off the underside of the crossbar!
- Lionel Messi has now scored 12 goals in his last eight La Liga games. He is now the top scorer in the division.
- Lionel Messi became the player with the most hat-tricks in La Liga history (35), surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo (34).
- Barcelona have scored more goals from outside the box (10) than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues this season.