One week after missing out on the Ballon d’or, Lionel Messi gave one of those performances that makes any of those who think his talent is waning look rather foolish. Barcelona were dominant in their victory over Deportivo La Coruñabut it was Messi who was the tormentor-in-chief and the 27-year-old looked as brilliant as ever in completing the 30th hat-trick of his Barcelona career. A late own goal completed the rout but once again this was all about Messi.
At only five feet six inches tall, Messi is not renowned for his heading ability but his opening goal was as good as any old fashioned number nine could produce. Ivan Rakitić’s floated ball into the box left plenty to do but a thumping header left Fabricio Agosto helpless.
Twenty minutes later and it was the more recognisable side of Messi as he exchanged quick passes with Neymar before clipping the ball beautifully over the goalkeeper.
Barça were bossing their hosts and enjoyed 68% of possession and so it was no real surprise when the lead was extended. Equally, the source of this was no shock. Messi cut in from the right and unleashed a perfectly placed, left footed shot inside the far post to complete his hat-trick.
This was Messi’s 30th hat-trick for Barcelona and his 22nd in La Liga, just one behind Cristiano Ronaldo’s record as the two once again go head-to-head.