Messi nets hat-trick as Barca crushes Celta

Tanya Simon
November 10, 2019

Real Madrid's convincing 4-0 win at Eibar earlier on Saturday had kept up the pressure.

Barca's captain coolly converted a penalty to put the champions ahead in the 23rd minute but gave away a foul in a unsafe area which led to Lucas Olaza levelling for Celta with an outstanding strike from a free kick in the 42nd.

But anything Olaza could do, Messi could do better, and he did it TWICE with two stunning free-kick strikes either side of half-time.

Antoine Griezmann, who struggled again to make an impact, saw a shot well saved by Celta keeper Ruben Blanco as Barca, now with Sergio Busquets on the pitch following Nelson Semedo's injury midway through the first half, giving Ernesto Valverde's side much more control of the ball.

Messi's treble gave the Argentine hero his 34th La Liga hat-trick, drawing level with the record held by his Portuguese rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

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A third vehicle , 18 km behind, was shot up and burst into flames, killing Rhonita Miller and her four children. One 13-year-old boy helped the younger ones hide, then walked 22 kilometers (14 miles) home to get help.

"[My future] doesn't worry me", Valverde said, quoted by Marca. "This (taking free-kicks) is something that he has mastered to perfection".

Barcelona next host Celta de Vigo as they look to get back to winning ways ahead of the global break, with Óscar García Junyent's side looking to cause an upset to climb out of the relegation zone. "The other day we had a painful defeat and we had to win today".

A second penalty, this time scored by Benzema just before the half hour, made it 3-0 and with the result already decided, Fede Valverde's first league goal for Madrid closed the scoring with just under half an hour left to play.

The former Brighton and Watford manager, who started his career at the Nou Camp, said: "We wanted to go out, be fearless and win".

One goal in six LaLiga matches is a poor return from Griezmann, who missed a gilt-edged chance and offered very little throughout the game.

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