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Leo Messi doesn't just score, he scores in bunches. / FCB GRAPHIC DESIGN

That sound you are hearing is not a broken record. Lionel Messi has, in fact, reached another milestone.

The insatiable Argentine striker was not only the main catalyst in FC Barcelona's 5–1 rout at Rayo Vallecano on Thursday night, scoring in the 22nd, 52nd and 71st minutes, but he also reached a new level of brilliance with his 30th career hat trick. If you add the games in which Messi has scored more than three goals, the number swells to 35. It's no wonder the man who's also known as 'The Flea' is the owner of an unheard-of five Ballons d'Or.

The Messi show got off to a decent enough start this season but was muted by a knee injury that had him side-lined for two months. After coming back in Barça's 4–0 rout at arch-nemesis Real Madrid, Messi finished out the year with few other issues.

When the ball dropped to start 2016, the diminutive goal-scoring machine turned it up not one notch, but three, beginning a run that has seen him score a European-high 20 goals across all competitions. For the season, Messi now has 33 goals overall coming from the six competitions in which he has played, including 19 goals in La Liga, five in the Copa del Rey, five in the UEFA Champions League, two in the UEFA Super Cup and one in the FIFA Club World Cup.

The stuff of legends

Although FC Barcelona wield the most dangerous weapon in football — and perhaps all-time — Messi's two wingmen have been extraordinarily lethal along side him. Luis Suárez leads the team with 41 goals, while Neymar has added 23. It's almost as if comparing them with Poseidon's trident doesn't do justice. Staying within the realm of Greek Mythology, perhaps a more apt sobriquet would be that of Kerberos, the three-headed monster. Messi, Neymar and Suárez don't just strike at their opponents, they devour them.

But regardless of how we refer to Messi and his cohorts, all of this has put the Catalans in a fine position heading into the season's home stretch. And with all three having a good chance to lead La Liga in scoring this season, the only question is: who will finish at the top?

06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12 12/13 13/14 14/15 15/16
Hat tricks 1 - 1 3 4 7 1 4 6 3
Four-goal - - - 1 - 2 1 - - -
Five-goal - - - - - 1 - - - -

Four- and five-goal games

Here are the games in which Messi got more than a hat-trick:

Four-goal games:
2009/10 – FCB v. Arsenal (4-1)
2011/12 – FCB v. Valencia (5-1)
2011/12 – FCB v. Espanyol (4-0)
2012/13 – FCB v. Osasuna (5-1)

Five-goal game:
2011/12 – FCB vs. Bayer Leverkusen (7-1)

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