Messi makes more LaLiga history with goals record

Lionel Messi scored two free-kicks and set up another goal as Barcelona romped past local rivals Espanyol 4-0

The five-time Ballon d'Or victor was inspirational for Barca, opening the scoring with an unstoppable free-kick, then setting up Ousmane Dembele for a superb curling finish.

Messi opened the scoring with a fine free-kick, before Ousmane Dembele doubled the lead in the 26th minute and Luis Suarez scored from the tightest of angles just before the break.

But, after 17 minutes, another moment of brilliance from Messi broke the deadlock. Messi curled a left-footed shot into the top corner, with the ball turning away from the outstretched arm of Espanyol goalkeeper Diego Lopez.

Espanyol's long wait for a derby win goes on, and the hosts were denied a consolation goal in the 74th minute when defender Oscar Duarte stabbed the ball in at close range from a free-kick.

Luis Suarez - back in the team following a knee problem - had the opportunity to send Barcelona two goals ahead four minutes later when he met a clever pass from Messi, but Diego Lopez was on hand to make the save.

What does it mean?

Barca's front three were all in fine form but Messi was the conductor at the heart of all their play. Coach Ernesto Valverde said it was "absurd" Messi finished fifth in the Ballon d'Or voting - he has a point.

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Lionel Messi demonstrated he is the best player in the world by demolishing Espanyol, according to Barcelona team-mate Sergio Busquets. But it was Barca causing all the issues once more.

Espanyol's fourth consecutive league defeat left them ninth in the standings, but they didn't stand a chance with Messi in this mood.

He was in a media briefing and was asked about his opinion on Messi being the greatest of all time, he said that Messi only has one skill.

According to ESPN's Alexis, the five-time Ballon d'Or victor has scored more direct free-kicks than any club in Europe's top five leagues in the last four years.

Espanyol have now lost four league games in a row, their strong start to the season fading badly.

LaLiga leaders FC Barcelona extended their lead at the top after a 4-0 rout of Espanyol on Saturday evening.

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