Lionel Messi makes history vs. Sevilla


Lionel Messi scored his first hat trick of the season and made history as he fired Barcelona to a resounding 5-1 win at home to Sevilla. The Argentine's treble took him past former Athletic Bilbao forward Telmo Zarra's mark of 251 goals and on to 253. They have come in just 289 games. The 27-year-old opened the scoring with a sensational free-kick to draw level with Zarra, but his strike was cancelled out by Jordi Alba's own goal at the start of the second half. Neymar headed Barca back in front moments later and Ivan Rakitic extended Barca's lead before Messi broke the scoring record after an awesome combination with Neymar and then struck again to complete his treble. Messi had been the subject of a litany of press reports linking him to a move away from Barcelona last week following comments the striker had made to Argentine newspaper Ole, saying he did not know if he would stay at the Catalan club for the rest of his career. But he produced the perfect response on the pitch. His brilliant, curled free-kick put Barca in command after 21 minutes, but Sevilla refused to wilt after going behind and kept the hosts at bay for the rest of the first half. Unai Emery's side made a bold start to the second half and drew level three minutes after the break. Vitolo took on Dani Alves and Gerard Pique by the line and pulled the ball back across goal towards Denis Suarez, but Alba got there first and could not avoid tumbling the ball into the bottom corner. However, just a minute later Barca were back in front, Neymar rising above the Sevilla defenders to head Xavi's curled free-kick in at the near post. A quarter of an hour later Rakitic scored against his former club to kill off the third goal to end all hope of a Sevilla comeback. Pique carried the ball from defence towards the halfway line and played in Luis Suarez on the right with a sweeping ball. The Uruguayan cut inside and picked out Rakitic on the opposite side of the box and the Croatian's header was too powerful for Beto, who prevented the ball from hitting the net but not from crossing the line. But the best goal of the game was still to come – an irresistible combination between Neymar and Messi. The Argentine played in his strike partner down the left hand side, the Brazil international scuttled towards goal but – rather than shooting – sent the ball across the far post and Messi slid to the floor to nudge the ball home with his right foot. Barcelona's all-time top scorer was greeted with rapturous applause by the Camp Nou and his teammates combined to carry the history maker on their shoulders. But Messi was not just content to have made history, and moments later scored his hat trick, playing a one-two with Neymar on the edge of the area and then placed the ball low beyond Beto and into the net. The player was then given a guard of honour by his team-mates at the end and a celebratory video was shown on the Camp Nou's big screens.