While Argentina’s troubles in front of goal may have continued last week, Lionel Messi wasted no time to show that he hasn’t lost his scoring touch with a hat-trick in Barcelona’s 5-0 win over city rivals Espanyol.
The Albiceleste captain fired his 38th career hat-trick to put Barça three-up shortly after the hour mark before goals by Gerard Piqué and Luis Suárez wrapped up the win.
There was more than a hint of good fortune about Barcelona’s opener as the linesman failed to flag despite Messi clearly receiving Ivan Rakitic’s pass in an offside position. That slight advantage was all the world’s best player needed as he jinked inside a challenge and rifled the ball into the top corner.
The second followed shortly after when Jorde Alba squared for Messi to tap in from close range and although Pablo Piatti came close to pulling one back for Espanyol, Alba laid on another for Messi after 67 minutes.
A powerful Gerard Piqué header made it four before Suárez rolled in the fifth, assisted by debutant Ousmane Dembele.
As fierce rivals Real Madrid stumbled to another draw, Barcelona look to put their recent troubles behind them and with three wins from three sit top of La Liga.