Unleashed by Messi, Barca look to continue winning surge

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said he has "run out of words" to describe Lionel Messi after the captain inspired a 5-1 rout of Real Valladolid.

Valladolid had threatened to compose a sport of it when Kiko Olivas benefitted from a rare Marc-Andre ter Stegen error to equalise, after Clement Lenglet had struck within the 2nd minute.

Messi scored another spell-binding free-kick at Camp Nou after his sumptuous pass had already teed up Arturo Vidal for Barca's second.

But again, it was Messi who provided the magic, beating Masip with a laser-guided half-volley to boost the lead to 4-1 in the 75th minute, two minutes before he assisted on a Luis Suarez goal to complete the rout.

Messi scored a goal in each half, including his 50th from a free kick, as Barcelona won its seventh straight game in all competitions since the Argentina star returned to the starting lineup after a long injury layoff.

Having recorded 35 goals and a further 14 assists, the 32-year-old Argentine has been involved in 49 goals in 2019 so far, but he has another in-form striker breathing down his neck.

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FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi needs to join Real Madrid in order to be considered as the best ever, according to former Argentina worldwide Hugo Gatti.

Barcelona took the lead after just two minutes when the ball bounced fortuitously to Lenglet in the area and he crashed an effort in off the crossbar.

Atletico Madrid meanwhile face a daunting trip to Sevilla, reeling from being held to a fifth draw in eight league games after Alaves netted a late equaliser in a 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

'One day Messi will retire and Barca will cope with that.

In damage time, Messi ought to have had his hat-trick however curled broad of the left put up when he appeared sure to attain.

"I went for the top corner and luckily it went in", he said. "We have seen Valladolid draw with Real Madrid and Atletico and we know they have potential".

  • Lawrence Cooper