Messi breaks Spain's scoring record
Scored hat trick in Sevilla win
Previous 251 goal record stood for 59 years
Barca stay in second place in the league
Lionel Messi broke the Spanish league’s all-time scoring record after hitting a hat trick in Barcelona’s 5-1 victory over Sevilla.
It has been a season of records for the Argentine international who, at just 27, already holds the record as Barcelona’s highest ever scorer in European competition.
But all eyes were on the diminutive striker at the Camp Nou stadium to see whether he cold break Telmo Zarra’s 59-year-old record of 251 Spanish league goals.
In the end, Messi didn’t just break the record: he equaled it, surpassed it and then extended it in typical fashion.
His first, which tied the record, was a sublime left foot free kick which he bent over the wall into the top left hand corner of the goal.
The second, which broke the record, was a surging run through the heart of Sevilla’s defense that ended with Messi exchanging passes and sliding in to finish at the far post.
His Barcelona teammates celebrated with him on the pitch by picking him up and throwing him in the air.
But Messi wasn’t finished there.
He scored another fantastic goal to extend the record with a left foot shot on the run into the bottom left hand corner of the goal.
“We are happy for everything. Obviously for Leo, it is an incredible, brutal record,” Barcelona midfielder Xavi told AFP after the game.
“It is historic and I am very happy for him because he deserves it as a person and obviously as a player.”
More importantly, however, the comprehensive victory allowed Barcelona to close the gap on Real Madrid at the top of the table who had beaten Eibar 4-0 earlier on Saturday.
There were signs too that Messi’s record might not stand for almost six decades, as the previous one had.
Cristiano Ronaldo again scored twice, his 197th goal in just 177 matches.