History-maker Messi spurs Barca

History-maker Messi spurs Barca

Lionel Messi became the all-time top goalscorer in La Liga history with a hat-trick as Barcelona swept aside Sevilla 5-1 on Saturday to remain two points adrift of league leaders Real Madrid.

Messi, 27, moved level with legendary Basque striker Telmo Zarra when he opened the scoring with a trademark free-kick to register his 251st goal in his 289th appearance in the Spanish top flight.

A Jordi Alba own goal briefly brought Sevilla level early in the second-half, but Neymar swiftly restored Barca's advantage before Ivan Rakitic made the game safe when he headed home Luis Suarez's enticing cross against his old club.

Messi then took over as he slid in to convert Neymar's low cross to set the new record and extended it moments later with a precise low finish to round off a fine evening for Luis Enrique's men against a side that started the evening just two points adrift of the Catalans.

"When I scored this goal, I couldn't imagine I could break any record, let alone this one previously held by the great Telmo Zarra," wrote Messi on his Facebook page alongside his first Barca goal against Albacete in May, 2005.

"I was only able to achieve this because of the support I have had from so many people during my time here and I would like to dedicate this achievement to you all."
"Leo is happy to he here and you could see that again tonight," Barca captain Xavi told reporters.

"If Messi is happy, Barca is happy," added the decorated former Spain midfielder.
Earlier, Real Madrid saw off Basque minnows Eibar's dreams of a giant-killing thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo double to register their 14th consecutive win in all competitions with a 4-0 victory.

While Messi was busy breaking the all-time La Liga scoring record, Ronaldo took a step closer to smashing the best for a single season of 50 goals also held by his Argentine rival.

The Portugal forward has now scored an incredible 20 goals in 11 appearances in Spain's top flight this term.

If the World Player of the Year continues at his current pace, his tally for the season will be more than 60, comfortably surpassing Messi's record set in 2011-12. "A lot of people are envious about what he has achieved and about what he can accomplish," Real's Brazil fullback Marcelo told reporters. "Cristiano always works hard, he's a top professional with a huge desire to learn and help the team."

Champions Atletico Madrid remain four points off the top as they overcame Malaga 3-1 at the Vicente Calderon thanks to goals from Tiago, Antoine Griezmann and Diego Godin.

At the other end of the table, Real Sociedad moved a point clear of the relegation zone in former Manchester United manager David Moyes's bow as the new coach as they drew 0-0 away to Deportivo la Coruna.

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