Lionel Messi was simply at his best as Barcelona thrashed Real Betis 4-1 in an entertaining La Liga clash on Sunday at the Benito Villamarin.
The Argentine capped his performance on the night with his 51st career hat-trick as Barca went 10 points clear at the summit of the La Liga log.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner ended the night winning new converts with his top-class display as Betis fans joined in singing his praise.
Interestingly, Messi set the ball rolling by netting a superb free-kick after 18th minute, beating Betis shot-stopper Pau Lopez from the very spot he was covering.
The Argentina playmaker added his second goal of the contest after scoring from a Luis Suarez’s assist to further extend Barcelona advantage.
And Messi still had the time to show the world how well he has mastered the ‘art’ of converting free-kicks when he cleverly sent the ball over Lopez to compete his hat-trick
Indeed, Messi’s display will continue to be a major talking point about for a very, very long time to come among football followers.
At the last count, the Barcelona captain has continued to perfect his free-kicks, with other stars playing catch up
He emerged the first player to score five times from direct free-kicks in Europe’s major five leagues and the Champions League this season.
And the 31-year-old has now netted more free-kicks than Los Blancos for eight years since the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
Messi has netted 25 direct set-pieces at the last count with Real Madrid squad at 24.
Apart from Real Madrid, Messi has better free-kicks goals than Lyon, Roma, Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool since the beginning of the 2011-12 season.
In 2018, Messi revealed he was working towards improving his execution set pieces.
“I've also improved at taking free kicks a lot, even with my right foot. I am always trying to learn and improve every day,” Messi was quoted as saying to Spanish news channel Catalunya Radio, per ESPN.
Earlier, Legit.ng reported that Lionel Messi and Barcelona are struggling to overcome the quarter-final 'curse' of the Champions League despite United supporters fear to battle the Catalans.
According to The Mirror, Messi and his Barcelona teammates are now rated favourites to win the UCL after Real Madrid's exit, but they will have to see off United to achieve the target
And United interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer must find a way to ensure the players’ morale is fired up.
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