La Liga roundup: Messi ties Ronaldo’s La Liga hat-trick record

Tanya Simon
November 10, 2019

Lionel Messi scored two exquisite free kicks as he netted his first hat-trick of the season in a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday which took Barcelona back to the top of La Liga after a hard week.

Even Messi struggled, uncharacteristically letting one ball slip over his foot and out of play in the first half, a rare lapse in concentration.

But five minutes before the interval, Pape Cheikh sprinted through Barcelona's midfield only to be fouled by Messi 20 yards from goal and Lucas Olaza bent a superb free-kick into the corner of Marc-Andre ter Stegen's net.

There's great, and then there's Lionel Messi great.

Moments later Messi struck again, stepping up after Frenkie de Jong was fouled and sending a carbon copy of his first-half free-kick looping beyond the diving Blanco to complete his hat-trick. With eight league goals to his name, only Real Madrid's Karim Benzema has more goals than Messi's seven this season. Today we were fluent and he scored three times.

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It was then that Iftikhar closed down one end with a counter-attacking knock, but wickets continued at the other. Paceman, Sean Abbott, claimed 2-14 off his 4 overs, to claim the Player of the Match award.

When teams concede free kicks on the edge of their own box they feel nearly as risky as penalties with Messi standing over them.

Sergio Busquets drilled in the fourth but it was Messi's night as usual as he repeated a feat last managed in Spain in 2012 - by Messi himself.

The Spanish manager added that his team's poor week motivated them to improve amid a tight title race that sees the Blaugrana top the league on goal difference.

Speaking to reporters after the game, head coach Valverde underlined the Argentina international's importance, telling reporters: "It's impossible not to depend on Messi".

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