Hat-trick hero: Majestic Lionel Messi hits TWO free-kicks in 25-minute treble against Celta Vigo (VIDEO)
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi was in irresistible form at the Camp Nou as he struck a hat-trick in 25 minutes to fire his side past Celta Vigo 4-1 on Saturday night.
Messi registered his first hat-trick of the season as Barca surged back to the top of the La Liga table after a tricky recent run of form.
Barca slipped to a 3-1 La Liga defeat at Levante last week, then dropped points in the UEFA Champions League with a goalless draw at home to Czech side Slavia Prague. But the Catalan giants bounced back in style, with Messi leading the way with a superb hat-trick.Also on rt.com Messi reaches yet another scoring milestone but Barcelona fall to shock defeat at Levante
A soft-looking award of a penalty gifted Messi the opportunity to put Barca in front from the spot on 23 minutes before Celta's Lucas Olaza silenced the stadium three minutes before the break with a brilliant free-kick.
But anything Olaza could do, Messi could do better, and he did it TWICE with two stunning free-kick strikes either side of half-time.
His first effort came just before the break, with the second – a near carbon copy of the first – coming at the start of the second half before Sergio Busquets put the seal on a 4-1 victory.
Messi's treble gave the Argentine hero his 34th La Liga hat-trick, drawing level with the record held by his Portuguese rival Cristiano Ronaldo.
But with Ronaldo now plying his trade in Serie A with Juventus, the coast is clear for Messi to surpass his longtime rival and stand alone as the most prolific hat-trick scorer in La Liga history.
"We have a very big advantage, we have the best player in the world on our side who is also the best at taking free-kicks," said Busquets in praise of Messi.
"Little by little he has been improving at free-kicks, he used to find them hard. Having him around gives us a real boost."
Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde also paid tribute to his matchwinning star.
"With Messi anything is possible," he said.
"He dominates the art of free-kick taking, and opponents know they cannot afford to give away fouls near our area. When they do, we try to take advantage.
"When you lose a game it's always important to win the next one, especially at a club like ours. The other day we had a painful defeat and we had to win today."
Barcelona now sit at the top of La Liga once more, level on points with rivals Real Madrid.Also on rt.com 'Messi took his soul away': Barcelona ace Lionel Messi unleashes outrageous La Liga nutmeg against Valladolid (VIDEO)