Messi breaks treble record as Barcelona hit top spot
Lionel Messi broke a Spanish hat-trick record and Luis Suarez struck twice as a rampant Barcelona took over top spot in La Liga with a 6-1 hammering of Rayo Vallecano yesterday.
Messi came alive after halftime at the Nou Camp to net his 32nd treble for Barca in all competitions in the space of just 12 minutes.
It meant he eclipsed the record of the most hat-tricks ever recorded in Spanish football that he had shared with Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra.
The Argentine's second half tour de force against a side reduced to 10 men with the dismissal of Tito - Barca themselves had Dani Alves sent off late in the game - included a goal scored from a retaken penalty after he had seen the first saved.
It helped put Barca back in control at the head of La Liga, after an equal amount of games played, for the first time since the start of November.
They moved on to 62 points, a point clear of Real Madrid, who were beaten by Athletic Bilbao on Saturday, and are now in pole position two weeks ahead of Madrid's visit to their Nou Camp fortress in El Clasico. "Being leaders is not something that we are concentrating on much at the moment as there is still a long way to go in the league," defender Gerard Pique told reporters.