Lionel Messi stars as Barcelona thrash Celta Vigo in the cup

Celta Vigo Messimerised

Alba's cross from the left was missed by Suarez, allowing Messi to send a fine half-volley into the bottom-right corner from the edge of the area, despite Sergio's best efforts.

Messi netted twice in two minutes inside the opening quarter of an hour, steering home from two Alba crosses, before he returned the favour with a sumptuous pass that allowed the full-back to score his second goal of the season. They played well even though we had enough chances to win the game. "He's been here for 12 years playing at a spectacular level and this year he's been even more incredible".

Valverde is expected to name a stronger line-up this time with Messi, Suarez and Iniesta returning to his squad after the trio played during the weekend's 3-0 victory over Levante in La Liga.

It's a relationship which has only really blossomed in the last six months, with Neymar's move to Paris Saint-Germain allowing Alba much more space on the left.

The last six meetings in all competitions have seen two wins for either side, as well as two draws, with those six matches producing 30 goals, and there is little to make us think that Thursday's game will be any different; with the tie in the balance, both sides will go for it.

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Valverde said: "We are going to wait, people appreciate him a lot for the time he has been here".

"It's incredible how [Messi] reads the game, especially for me", Alba added.

Ivan Rakitic headed the fifth goal late in the game to round off the five-star performance of Ernesto Varvelde's side.

Thursday's qualifiers join Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Leganes, Alaves and Valencia who already sealed their qualification on Tuesday and Wednesday night. "But I shouldn't say that because it will mean we'll draw them!"

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