Messi scores four as emotional Guardiola bids Barca farewell
May 6, 2012 -- Updated 0252 GMT (1052 HKT)
Lionel Messi hugs Barcelona coach Josep Guardiola after scoring his third goal in the derby against Espanyol.
- Lionel Messi takes his La Liga tally to 50 goals this season with four against Espanyol
- Derby match marks coach Pep Guardiola's final home game before stepping down
- Messi is five goals clear of Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of closing round next weekend
- Argentina star has now scored 72 times for his club in all competitions this season
(CNN) -- Real Madrid may have ended Barcelona's Spanish title reign in midweek, but Lionel Messi is poised to dethrone Cristiano Ronaldo as La Liga's goal king after adding four more to his tally on Saturday.
The three-time world player of the year paid the ultimate tribute to Josep Guardiola in the coach's final home game, which ended in a 4-0 victory over city rivals Espanyol.
The Argentina forward went into the match having already broken Gerd Muller's longstanding record of 67 goals in a European season, and he took his tally to an incredible 72 ahead of next weekend's closing league game at Real Betis.
Fifty of those have come in La Liga, putting him five clear of Ronaldo -- who also scored in Saturday's 2-1 win at Granada that kept Real seven points clear of Barca.
Guardiola to end Barcelona reign
Real Madrid players lift Jose Mourinho after winning the Spanish title for the 32nd time. The Portuguese coach has also won league titles in Portugal, England and Italy.
Real Madrid's La Liga triumph
Pep Guardiola has been on a year-long sabbatical in the U.S. after stepping down as Barcelona coach, but he returned to Europe in January for the Ballon d'Or when he was shortlisted for FIFA's world coach of the year award.
The end of an era: Josep Guardiola
Barcelona's players are the best paid in the world according to a new report. The team kept its No. 1 place on the earnings table with each player taking home an average annual salary of $8.6 million (£5.2 million). That's a whopping $166,934 (£101,160) per week and a 10% rise on last year.
The world's 10 best-paid sports teams
It was an emotional night at the Camp Nou, where Guardiola said farewell to the fans he has enthralled with his team's magical style of football since taking over in 2008.
"I'll see you all soon, you will never lose me. I will miss you all very much. I'm the one on the losing end," he told the crowd.
Then, referring to his assistant Tito Vilanova, who will take over the top job next season, he added: "I leave you in the best possible hands. You don't know how appreciated I feel when I go home. Thank you all."
Messi opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a superb free-kick, then his second-half treble was aided by two penalties either side of a trademark low left-foot drive.
Ronaldo, who topped the La Liga scoring charts last season with a then record 40 goals, was also on target from the spot as Madrid came from behind to snatch victory.
Granada, battling to avoid relegation, led through Franco Jara in the fifth minute, but the world's most expensive player leveled in the 81st minute after being brought down in the box.
Then, in time added on, David Cortes diverted Karim Benzema's cross into his own net to give Real the chance to finish the season on 100 points with victory next Sunday.
Valencia guaranteed third place -- 29 points behind Barca -- with a 1-0 win over Villarreal, who face a final-day fight to avoid dropping into the bottom three.
Malaga's bid for fourth place suffered a blow with a 2-1 defeat at Atletico Madrid, who are now two points adrift in fifth.
Levante and Mallorca are another point back after the latter side won their clash 1-0.
Second-bottom Sporting Gijon could still survive after a 2-1 win over Betis left the club three points adrift of Zaragoza and Vallecano.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.