Messi hat-trick highlights Barcelona's 4-0 romp over Deportivo


Lionel Messi once again responded to speculation about his Barcelona future with a sensational performance on the pitch, scoring a hat-trick as the Catalans trounced Deportivo La Coruna 4-0. The Argentinian sounded the alarm bells last week by declaring at the FIFA Ballon d'Or ceremony that he did not know where he would be next year, but gave Barca a two-goal advantage at the break at Riazor and then completed his treble in the second half. A late own goal by defender Sidnei compounded struggling Depor's misery. For the first time in his 19 league games in charge of Barcelona, Luis Enrique named an unchanged side from the team that had beaten Atletico Madrid 3-1 the previous week and produced the team's most convincing performance of the season. His opposite number Victor Fernandez insisted before the game that his side would not “park the bus'' but failed to stick to his promise and Barca were pulling the strings right from kick-off. Messi almost gave the Catalans a 10th-minute lead when Ivan Rakitic rolled a corner across the ground and the Argentinian latched onto it unmarked, but Depor goalkeeper Fabricio reacted quickly to tip the ball over the bar. But just a minute later Rakitic and Messi combined again and this time the goalkeeper could do nothing to prevent the striker's header from flying into the net. Deportivo took 26 minutes to create their first chance but it went to waste as Ivan Cavaleiro miscued after taking the ball beyond Gerard Pique. And the Galicians were dealt another blow shortly afterwards when Messi doubled Barca's advantage. As with his first goal, the 27-year-old started the move with a pass into Neymar and the Brazilian tried to set up Luis Suarez in the six-yard-box. The former Liverpool man could not control the ball properly however, so instead Messi stuck out his left foot and walked the ball into the net. Barca's all-time top scorer could have sealed his hat-trick before the break as he stormed into the right hand side of the area, but his shot went just over the bar, and Suarez also squandered an opportunity to get a first league goal away from home. Depor made a bright start to the second half and had a penalty appeal turned down when Haris Medunjanin was felled by Javier Mascherano, who was sent off in this fixture two years ago. Juan Dominguez was the only Depor player to test Claudio Bravo, the Chilean beating away the midfielder's enterprising volley. But the hosts' rare forays into the Barca area paled in comparison to the waves of Barca attacks and Messi grabbed his hat-trick goal just after the hour mark, receiving a short corner from Rakitic and sending the ball into the opposite corner. The Argentinian also hit a treble here two seasons ago in an epic 5-4 Barca win. Deportivo's humiliation was not yet complete, however. With seven minutes left, Alberto Lopo tried to clear a cross from Dani Alves but instead smashed the ball off the back off team-mate Sidnei and watched in horror as it trickled into the net.