On March 8, 2015, Rayo Vallecano were the visitors to Camp Nou for the week 26 LaLiga fixture.
Barça were heading to an unprecedented second treble of LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League and the side from Madrid just happened to catch them when they were in scintillating form. Not least Lionel Messi, who had quite the feast on that Sunday afternoon.
Though Neymar was banned for this game and Sergio Busquets was injured, the hosts wasted no time in getting off of the mark, Luis Suárez powerfully curling one home with the outside of his right foot after just five minutes.
Gerard Piqué added Barça’s second on 49 minutes after the ball had rebounded to him after hitting the woodwork.
Then Messi got to work.
A penalty, which saw Rayo’s Tito sent off for a transgression on Suárez, handed Leo the chance to score his side’s third goal, but a weak effort was comfortably saved. He was swiftly reprieved, however, as Rayo’s players were punished for encroachment, forcing the spot-kick to be taken again.
This time, a much harder shot was dispatched to the opposite side of the goal to make it 3-0 on 56 minutes. Just seven minutes later, Rayo keeper, Cristian Álvarez, palmed Suarez’s shot straight to Messi who was stood directly in front of the goal and couldn’t miss.
Another five minutes passed, just 12 since Messi’s opener, and Pedro threaded a ball to him in the area. Somehow, the Argentinian waltzed through two defensive tackles at the same time before sitting Álvarez down and sliding the ball into an empty net for his fastest-ever hat-trick at Barca.
Dani Alves’ red card and subsequent penalty converted by Alberto Bueno on 81 was the only sour note to a game which ended 6-1, with Suarez’s second - from a Messi assist - in injury time.