The GOAT just got GOATier! Leo Messi was the mastermind but Barça as a whole were simply outstanding in a somewhat lop-sided edition of the oldest football fixture in Spain.
It was all over by half-time, when Luis Suárez slipped a cheeky angled finish past Diego Lopez to make it 3-0, his eighth goal against Barça’s local rivals.
But this night, like so many nights, was all about Messi. His free kick to open the scoring was poetry in motion. To get that much curl on the ball and place it so neatly in the top right corner was the stuff that genius is made of.
And to erase any suspicion that there was any luck involved, he performed the same trick twice. This time in the second half, and this time into the opposite top corner.
Perhaps surprisingly, it was the first time he had ever scored two direct free kicks in the same game. And those goals also mean that he has now reached double figures for goals in an incredible THIRTEEN consecutive seasons.
It goes without saying that that has never been done before.
Ousmane Dembélé also added to the party by converting a fabulous second following a delightful piece of football from the whole team, with Messi naturally playing a central role with his eighth assist of the season – putting him top of the pile in Europe’s top five leagues.
Ernesto Valverde had never won in eight previous visits to Espanyol. He’s certainly put that bugbear under the carpet. It’s a win that stretches what was already a record unbeaten run in the Derbi Barcelones to 19 games, and ensures another week on top of the league table for a Barça team that is firing on all cylinders.