Barcelona go top after Messi's record hat-trick

Striker scores 32nd hat-trick for the Spanish club as Barcelona go one point clear of Real Madrid.

    Messi has also become the joint top-scorer in La Liga this season [Getty Images]
    Messi has also become the joint top-scorer in La Liga this season [Getty Images]

    Lionel Messi broke a Spanish hat-trick record and Luis Suarez struck twice as a rampant Barcelona took over top spot in La Liga with a 6-1 hammering of Rayo Vallecano.

    Messi came alive after halftime at the Nou Camp to net his 32nd treble for Barca in all competitions in the space of just 12 minutes.

    La Liga top scorers
    30 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)            
         Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)     
    17 Neymar (Barcelona)                  
    14 Antoine Griezmann (Atl Madrid) 
         Carlos Bacca (Sevilla)

    It meant he eclipsed the record of the most hat-tricks ever recorded in Spanish football that he had shared with Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra.

    The Argentine's second half tour de force against a side reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of Tito - Barca themselves had Dani Alves sent off late in the game - included a goal scored from a retaken penalty after he had seen the first saved.

    It helped put Barca back in control at the head of La Liga, after an equal amount of games played, for the first time since the start of November.

    They moved on to 62 points, a point clear of Real Madrid, who were beaten by Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, and are now in pole position two weeks ahead of Madrid's visit to their Nou Camp fortress in El Clasico.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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