Lionel Messi notched a surprising double for Barcelona in a thumping 5-1 win in opposition to Alaves on the evening he matched Xavi’s haul of 505 LaLiga appearances for the membership.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner was named in Ronald Koeman’s beginning XI for Saturday’s conflict at Camp Nou – and he repaid his supervisor’s religion with a efficiency to recollect.
The Argentine could also be 33 now, however his return of 17 targets in 27 matches throughout all competitions this season proves he nonetheless has loads left within the tank earlier than he hangs up his boots.
Koeman’s males had the chance to maneuver as much as second with a win – they usually didn’t go up that probability.
Trincao gave the hosts the lead simply earlier than the half-hour mark, and Messi thought he had doubled Barca’s lead seven minutes later – solely to see his strike dominated out for offside by VAR.
Messi wasn’t to be denied although, scoring a fairly luxurious objective to efficiently double his facet’s lead simply earlier than the interval.
Selecting up the ball on the right-hand facet he drifted inside previous a defender effortlessly earlier than firing an excellent left-footed drive in off the publish.
Luis Rioja decreased the deficit on 57 minutes, however Trincao discovered the online once more after 74 minutes as Barcelona regained their two-goal lead.
Messi capped off a classic show with an absolute rocket of a strike from lengthy vary to place the hosts 4-1 up, with Junior Firpo notching his first objective of the season to place a gloss on the scoreline.
Messi has eight targets in his final 5 league appearances, whereas Barca are unbeaten of their final 12 video games – selecting up seven successive LaLiga victories.
It was additionally an evening to recollect for 18-year-old midfielder Iliax Moriba after turning into the teen participant to offer an help in his first-ever La Liga look.