Magical Messi stars as Barca thrash Valladolid to go top
La Liga, Camp Nou – Barcelona 5 (Lenglet 2’, Vidal 29’, Messi 34’, 75’, Suarez 77’) Real Valladolid 1 (Kiko 15’)
Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 5-1 win over Real Valladolid, scoring twice and assisting two more as the defending champions went top of La Liga.
It took the Catalans just three minutes to open the scoring when Clement Lenglet lashed home a left-footed strike from 10 yards out after Real Valladolid failed to clear a Messi freekick into the area. However, the visitors struck back when Kiko Olivas bundled home after a cross had bounced off Marc-Andre Ter Stegen.
Barcelona's players congratulate French defender Clement Lenglet for scoring the opening goal during the Spanish league football match between FC Barcelona and Real Valladolid FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 29, 2019Getty Images
Barca regained control just before the half hour mark, though, with Messi clipping a pass over the top for Arturo Vidal to divert home. And the 32-year-old provided the highlight of the night moments later, finding the top corner of the net with a trademark freekick.
Messi grabbed his second and Barcelona’s fourth in the second half, turning having been played through by Ivan Rakitic to finish powerfully past Jordi Masip. And the scoring was capped at five when Messi set up Luis Suarez for a strike at the near post. Atletico Madrid’s failure to win at Alaves earlier in the night means Barca now sit two points clear at the top of La Liga.
TALKING POINT - Barcelona’s building momentum is ominous for their La Liga rivals
With this result, Barcelona registered their fifth consecutive league win, taking them to the top of the Liga standings. Messi’s absence through injury earlier in the season stunted the Catalans, but they are growing in confidence and building momentum again. That is an ominous sign for their La Liga rivals. Barca very rarely allow a lead at the top of the league table to slip. They are finding their stride.
Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba of FC Barcelona celebrating their team's third goal during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Valladolid CF at Camp Nou on October 29, 2019Getty Images
MAN OF THE MATCH - Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Messi turns in performances so many performances of this ilk that it has almost become routine. However, the Argentine deserves all the credit for this result. Barcelona found themselves in an even contest until their number 10 turned on the style, making an assist and lashing home a stunning freekick within a five-minute spell to put his team in control. There was still time for Messi to add another goal and assist before the evening was out.
Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Valladolid CF at Camp Nou on October 29, 2019 in Barcelona, SpainGetty Images
Real Valladolid - Masip 6, Joaquin 5, Olivas 6, Barba 5, Porro 5, Anuar 6, Michel 6, Nacho 3, Waldo 5, Plano 5, Guardiola 6. Subs - Unal 5, Hervias 5, Salisu 5.
3’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Real Valladolid: It's an opener for Barcelona after just 120 seconds! Messi's cross into the middle wasn't cleared properly, the ball was ended up at the feet of Lenglet about 12 yards out and the French defender lashed a finish in off the underside of the crossbar!
15’ GOAL! Barcelona 1-1 Real Valladolid: It's a surprise equaliser for the away side! Ter Stegen didn't deal well with the freekick delivery into the penalty box, allowing the ball to bounce off him and Kiko was on hand to bundle home from close range. Valladolid are level!
29’ GOAL! Barcelona 2-1 Real Valladolid: It's Vidal who gets his name on the score sheet, but that goal was all about Messi's assist. The clipped pass over the top from the Argentine was magnificent and Vidal stuck out a toe to finish into the back of the Real Valladolid net! Barca lead again.
34’ GOAL! Barcelona 3-1 Real Valladolid: It's a Messi masterpiece! How many times have we seen that from the great man? Messi lined up the freekick from 25 yards out and you just knew what was coming. He finds the top corner of Masip's net with a curling, left-footed effort!
FC Barcelona v Real Valladolid - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - October 29, 2019 Barcelona's Lionel Messi scores their third goaReuters
75’ GOAL! Barcelona 4-1 Real Valladolid: It's Messi again and that should be the points in the bag for Barcelona! Rakitic played a very clever pass around the corner for the Argentine, he turned and lashed a powerful finish into the back of the net. He has made this match his own.
77’ GOAL! Barcelona 5-1 Real Valladolid: He has been quiet this evening, but Suarez has got himself a goal! Messi played the pass through and Suarez made no mistake in firing home at the near post! Barcelona are making this a rout. Two goals and two assists for Messi.
Lionel Messi has now scored 50 freekicks over the course of his career, 44 for Barcelona and six for Argentina.
Luis Suarez has now scored against every opponent he has faced in La Liga (27 out of 27).