Messi hat trick guides Barcelona past Real Betis


"No, I can't remember that happening before".

With 10 games to go Barcelona are closing in on the title.

Messi added a second goal in stoppage time of the first half, doubling Barcelona's lead ahead of the break.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde says Messi's treatment from the Betis fans is deserved recognition for everything he does on a football pitch.

Suarez, clearly in pain, had to receive treatment on the sidelines and Barca later confirmed he had sprained his ankle and would undergo tests on Monday to determine how long he would be out.

The Argentine fed the ball into the feet of Suarez, who found him again with a brilliant back-heel and Messi steered his finish past the keeper to put Barcelona in complete control at the interval. Worse things have happened before. "There are still lots of points in play and we have to keep playing like this".

The ball was dropped back to the five-time Ballon d'Or victor just inside the box, and he produced a ideal first-time lob over Lopez, who was no more than two yards off his line but could only watch as the ball clipped the underside of the crossbar and went in.

All the rest of their opponents now sit 10th or lower.

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The Barcelona star curled in a free-kick, finding the top corner with a devilish left-footed strike.

And after Loren Moron's late consolation for Betis, Messi capped his latest record with a wonderful third goal to add yet another match ball to his collection.

Suarez appeared to hurt his lower right leg late in the match.

Barcelona: Barcelona, which has also made it to the Copa del Rey final this year, is eyeing a three-trophy season.

The Catalan club have confirmed he will undergo further tests on Monday to determine the severity of the injury, but he will not join up with Uruguay during the global break this week.

Getafe defended well to take a 0-0 draw at Valencia, keeping its hold on fourth place.

Valladolid scored twice in stoppage time to pull off a spectacular 2-1 comeback at Eibar, and Villarreal got two goals from Toko Ekambi to beat Rayo Vallecano 3-1.