Messi's hat-trick helps Barca make history

Barcelona news Lionel Messi Arsenal Ousmane Dembele

It was a historic night for the Catalan outfit at the Nou Camp.

In doing so, Barca have now equalled the LaLiga record of of 38 matches unbeaten, which was set by Real Sociedad in 1980.

But when receiving praise for the achievement, the Barcelona manager was quick to show his class and thank his predecessor Luis Enrique, who oversaw seven of the 38 games past year.

Messi was the star of the show at the Camp Nou with a magnificent treble, as Barca stretched their lead at the top to 12 points ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid's derby against Real Madrid on Sunday. "It's a shared record, because it crossed over between seasons". But the hosts moved in front in the 27th minute through a trademark Messi free-kick.

Messi opened the scoring with a fine free-kick, struck his second before half-time and sealed the win in the closing stages with his 39th goal of the season in all competitions after Nabil El Zhar had pulled one back. Coutinho raced infield and delivered an inch-perfect pass which the Argentina global took in his stride while holding off two defenders before sending a left-footed strike into the bottom corner from 15 yards.

Barcelona news Lionel Messi Arsenal Ousmane Dembele
GETTYBarcelona news Lionel Messi thinks Arsenal want to sign Ousmane Dembele

Regarding the match, which saw Messi net twice in the first half before completing his hat-trick late on after Nabil El Zhar had pulled a goal back for Leganes in the 68th minute, Valverde admitted they made things hard for themselves.

Barcelona: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen 6 (out of 10), Nelson Semedo 6, Gerard Pique 6, Thomas Vermaelen 6, Sergi Roberto 5, Andre Gomes 5, Ivan Rakitic 6, Philippe Countinho 6, Ousmane Dembele 7, Luis Suarez 6, Lionel Messi 9.

Valverde added: "It's been hard to achieve". Barca will now turn their attentions to avoiding a disaster in Italy as they defend a 4-1 first-leg lead, still bidding to complete the treble with a Copa del Rey final against Sevilla to come in a fortnight's time.

Real Betis climbed up to fifth and edged closer to a return to European football next season by beating Eibar 2-0 at home, while Alaves beat Getafe 2-0.

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