Ernesto Valverde hails Lionel Messi after record-equalling hat-trick

Messi y Suárez

Lionel Messi scored his first hat-trick of the season in a 4-1 win over Celta Vigo. But the Catalan giants bounced back in style, with Messi leading the way with a superb hat-trick.

Messi's treble came at the end of a week that began with a 3-1 defeat at Levante and was made even worse by a goalless draw at home against Slavia Prague in the Champions League.

A soft-looking award of a penalty gifted Messi the opportunity to put Barca in front from the spot on 23 minutes before Celta's Lucas Olaza silenced the stadium three minutes before the break with a brilliant free-kick.

Messi restored Barca's lead right before halftime with a stunning free-kick of his own.

Sergio Busquets added another in the 85th minute to complete the comprehensive win on the night.

Click through the gallery the players with the most hat-tricks in LaLiga history.


Messi equaled Cristiano Ronaldo's record of 34 hat-tricks in the Primera Division in the game, while Sergio Busquets capped things off with Barca's first goal from open play in nearly three games as time ran out.

"We have a very big advantage, he's the best in the world and also the best freekick taker in the world", Busquets told Movistar about Messi. "Because when you are used to a regular feeling, it forces you to improve".

"With Leo, anything is possible", Valverde said.

"It is an advantage that we have, that our opponents fear and that is fine".

"When you lose a game it's always important to win the next one, especially at a club like ours".

With Real Madrid registering a victory as well, the race for La Liga has become all the more interesting.

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