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.
Part of complete coverage on
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
Today's five most popular stories