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PHOTO: ÀLEX CAPARRÓS-FCB

When Messi is on the pitch, entertainment is guaranteed and his hat trick tonight, together with Puyol’s opener, gave Barça a big win against Malaga, a team who are pushing for a Champions League place themselves. It was a clear win for Barça who made a great start with a goal from Puyol , only for Rondon to equalise with a header, but that was just the prologue for Leo Messi to step up and take control, with another hat trick from the world number one.

The Argentinean has now scored 68 goals this season and that is one more than Gerd Müller who held the previous record for goals scored in a season, whilst the team also beat their own record for a season, with 108 so far.

Messi had to share the limelight with Josep Guardiola of course, after his resignation announcement last Friday and the boss was showered with support from the Camp Nou crowd throughout the whole game.

Puyol opener

Barça were in charge from the off and although they didn’t reach the pace they often do, they did enough to dominate and were soon threatening the Malaga goal. Despite an attempt from a free kick by Duda that hit the woodwork, it was Barça who opened the scoring with a Puyol header from an Iniesta cross.

Rondón equalises, but Messi on target again

Malaga needed the points though if they were to maintain their Champions League challenge and Rondon brought them level with a similar goal to Barça’s, heading in a Gamez cross from the right past Pinto, who was again in the starting line up in preparation for the Cup Final. Iniesta – who was Barça’s outstanding player in the first half- set up a quick reply when he was brought down in the box, allowing Leo Messi to score his first of the night from the spot.

Messi passes Müller

The second half belonged to Messi – first scoring another penalty to make it 3-1 after Duda had brought him down as he was just about to finish off a great team move and then, as Malaga pushed forward to get back into the match, racing onto a lovely ball from Iniesta and flicking the ball over Kameni to beat Muller’s previous record in spectacular fashion.

Guardiola took advantage of the comfortable lead to bring on B team youngster Bartra and Afellay, following his comeback at Rayo.

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