Mauro Icardi returned to former club Sampdoria on Sunday and produced a stunning display to help Inter to three points, scoring four and passing a century of goals in Serie A.
The 25-year-old has not scored in the league since the start of January and was left out of Jorge Sampaoli’s latest Argentina squad but took little time in putting that right during a devastating first half performance.
Ivan Perisic had already headed Inter in front but when Icardi slotted in a penalty after half an hour the flood-gates truly opened.
The spot kick was Icardi’s 100th Serie A goal, making the Inter captain the sixth-youngest player to reach the milestone and a minute later Icardi was on target again with an audacious back-heel past Sampdoria goalkeeper Emiliano Viviano.
There was still time before the break for Icardi to complete a 14-minute hat-trick and content with three, the Argentinian volleyed a fourth shortly after the restart.
The victory took Inter back up into fourth and provides Jorge Sampaoli with a reminder of how difficult choosing his World Cup squad will be.
Elsewhere in Serie A, Papu Goméz was back among the goals as Atalanta also scored five in a dominant performance against Verona.
Bryan Cristante and a Josep Ilicic hat-trick had put La Dea four-nil up and after having an earlier effort ruled out by VAR, Papu Gómez nodded in a fifth. Only the woodwork denied Papu another and while the 30-year-old may not be having the same impact as last season, it was an excellent display by the diminutive club icon.
Barcelona took another step towards the La Liga title with victory over Athletic Club as Lionel Messi scored for the sixth consecutive game, taking his league tally to 25 for the season for the ninth straight season.
Paco Alcacer had given Barça an early lead and when Messi drilled in a second from the edge of the box after 20 minutes, the points were virtually secure.
While victory could have been by a greater margin, Messi took his season total to 38 and with Atlético Madrid losing to Villarreal, Barcelona are now 11 points clear at the top. No team has gone an entire 38-game La Liga campaign without defeat; Barcelona remain unbeaten with nine league games remaining.
Paris Saint-Germain are also strolling towards their league title after coming from behind against Nice to record a 2-1 win.
Allan Saint-Maximin put Nice in front but PSG were swiftly back level thanks to an outstanding solo effort by Ángel Di María, running from halfway to fire the ball into the bottom corner. El Fideo’s eighth goal in his last ten matches in all competitions.
Dani Alves struck a late winner and PSG are now 17 points ahead of second-placed Monaco.