Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to victory once again in Saturday’s 4-1 win over relegation-threatened Celta Vigo.
The artful Argentinian tied Cristiano Ronaldo’s hat-trick record with his 34th La Liga treble. Two of Messi’s goals came via trademark free-kicks struck handsomely to goalkeeper Ruben Blanco’s left-hand side.
Messi began the rout from the penalty spot after Joseph Aidoo blocked Junior Firpo’s cross with his elbow midway through the first half. Lucas Olaza netted an attractive free-kick of his own in the 42nd minute to restore parity at the Camp Nou, but Messi put Barcelona back ahead moments before the interval.
Sergio Busquets found the bottom corner in the 85th minute, leaving a scoreline that slightly flattered the hosts given Celta’s promising start to the match.
Messi is one shy of La Liga top scorer Karim Benzema’s tally of nine goals despite starting five fewer games.