Match - Sat 5 May, 21:00, Camp Nou
Messi puts four past Espanyol
Four goal hero Messi
The diminutive forward scored three times in the second half to add to his first half strike in what was Pep Guardiola’s last home game in charge of the club.
The hosts opened the scoring in the 12 minute when they were awarded a freekick 25 yards out.
Messi stepped up to take the kick and his curled effort picked up a slight deflection off Raul Baena on the way to the back of the net.
Joan Verdu then had a good opportunity to level matters two minutes later, also from a freekick, but his effort flew just wide of the upright.
Pep Guardiola’s men continued to dominate possession and should’ve doubled their lead in the 29th minute when Seydou Keita was put through by a brilliant pass from Messi.
The Malian tried to go around Cristain Alvarez but the goalkeeper came out on top as he grabbed the ball from his feet and also managed to push away a dangerous freekick from Andres Iniesta two minutes later.
The second half belonged to Messi as the he added three more goals to take his league tally for the current season to 50 goals.
In the 64th minute, he won a penalty when Cristian Gomez handled the ball inside the penalty area and converted from the spot with ease to grab his second goal of the match.
Ten minutes later he latched onto a through ball on the left side of the box and beat his marker for pace before placing his low shot at the far post.
Then in the 79th minute Barcelona were awarded another penalty when Sergio Busquets was brought down inside the box.
The responsibility fell to Messi again and he made no mistake as he sent Alvarez the wrong way to net his fourth goal.
Messi is now five goals ahead of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo in the race to finish as the league’s top scorer.