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FC Barcelona are on top of the league for another week following a simply spectacular game of football at Camp Nou that saw Leo Messi score three of the five goals in a performance that more than proved why he was the worthy winner of a sixth golden sphere on Monday night.
But the whole team contributed to a night to remember. Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring, and Luis Suárez also got on the scoresheet with one of the boldest goals we’ll see this season.
There’s no doubt about it. Barça have put their bumpy period behind them and are now hitting top form. With the machine running this smoothly, they are going to be hard indeed to beat.
The opener came from a Ter Stegen assist (his second of the season!). Dani Rodriguez had just missed a sitter for Mallorca and the German keeper took the goal kick quickly, having spotted Griezmann free on the halfway line. The Frenchman charged forth and beat the keeper with a composed finish to start the goal-fest at Camp Nou.
Next up, a move involving almost every blaugrana player led to Messi receiving the ball outside the area in a fairly harmless position. But no position is harmless when Messi has the ball. Where any normal player would hit and hope, the six-time Ballon d’Or winner picked his spot. Top left corner. Wham!
Only a quarter of an hour had gone and if this had been boxing, the fight would have been stopped there and then. Not even Ante Budimir’s stunning strike to get the visitors off the mark was any real cause for concern.
Mallorca’s teeny moment of hope lasted for mere seconds. Moments later, Messi was on the edge of the area and swerved a curveball just inside the post to put Barça back into a 2-goal lead. Messi scores these goals with such calm that it’s as if someone is simply pressing a button on a PlayStation controller. But no. This is for real.
But the moment of the half came from Luis Suárez. Mallorca was the only Liga team missing from his collection and he ticked their name off in simply majestic fashion. The build-up was another magnificent team effort. The finish was one of the most audacious back-heels you’ll ever see on a football pitch.
This was Barça operating at their most emphatic, brilliant best. Wow emojis were flying all over the internet.
The Barça show continued after the break, and the only real question was how many Barça were going to win by. The most optimistic predictions took a knock when Mallorca did it again. Budimir rose unchallenged to nod home a cross and the 4-2 was a poignant reminder that over-confidence can be costly. Mallorca had woken up and were now pressing for a third.
All credit to Mallorca for staying somewhere in the game. But Barça were never in real trouble and that man Messi stepped up to make sure of that. Another series of quick accurate passes led to the ball landing at his feet, this time from closer range, and that was a record 35th Liga hat-trick for the Argentinian to cap another golden performance from the greatest player on the planet.
Barça are still there. At the top of the league table, on goal difference ahead of Real Madrid. Just ten more sleeps before they meet in El Clásico. Bring it on!
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