Messi overtakes Xavi to yet another record

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi notched his 51st career hat-trick in a win against Real Betis Sunday at Seville Spain

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi notched his 51st career hat-trick in a win against Real Betis Sunday at Seville Spain

The 31-year-old netted his third hat-trick of the LaLiga campaign and fourth of the season, with three sublime goals which prompted a standing ovation from the home supporters at the Benito Villamarín Stadium.

That is what happened Sunday when Real Betis fans stood and clapped Lionel Messi after the Barcelona star completed a brilliant hattrick in a resounding 4-1 win for the Catalans. The Argentine International added another goal before the half time to take a two-goal cushion into the second half. But even for him, the sight of the Real Betis fans were applauding by the end tugged on the heartstrings.

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But while Messi enjoyed a landmark night on Sunday evening, Barcelona did not have everything their own way despite the final score. I'm very grateful for the response from the fans.

Valverde has regularly rejected suggestions Barca are targeting a treble but with his side in such a strong position in La Liga and already into the Copa del Rey final, suggestions they could add the Champions League to the domestic double they won last term is inevitable.

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Messi, who also hit the post just before the final whistle, leads the Spanish league with 29 goals and has scored 39 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions this season.

Remarkably, he has also scored more direct free-kick goals (four) and more goals from outside the box (seven) than any of his competitors those competitions. "It was a very good opportunity to increase the distance, we knew the Atletico Madrid result and we could not fail".

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Messi said: "They were great goals, but the important thing was getting the three points".

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