2016/2017 Spanish Primera División
  • Lionel Messi (24', 64')
  • Neymar (40')
  • Ivan Rakitic (57')
  • Samuel Umtiti (61')

Lionel Messi scores twice to help Barcelona romp to win over Celta

Barcelona quickly reclaimed top spot in La Liga on Saturday night with a 5-0 rout of Celta Vigo, after having briefly been usurped by Real Madrid.

Real had stormed to a 4-1 win at Eibar in the afternoon kickoff to move two points clear at the summit, but Barca, whose boss Luis Enrique announced earlier this week that he would leave his post at the end of the season, responded in style.

Barcelona produced a scintillating display as a brace from Lionel Messi as well as goals from Neymar, Ivan Rakitic, and Samuel Umtiti completed the rout.

Barca have scored 11 goals in their last two league games, but face an uphill task as they look to overturn a 4-0 deficit against Paris Saint-Germain in the second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie on Wednesday.

The hosts were surprisingly lethargic in the opening stages and Messi's uncharacteristically wayward touch saw the Argentinian miss the chance to put Barcelona ahead inside 10 minutes.

A smart exchange from Neymar and Messi on the edge of the area came to nothing before the former's audacious lob attempt failed to trouble Celta goalkeeper Sergio Alvarez as Enrique men's looked lost for ideas.

Barca would then hit the post twice on the 20-minute mark as Luis Suarez nutmegged Facundo Roncaglia before his shot rebounded off the base of the post and into the path of Messi, who tried a first-time shot and also hit the framework.

Neymar had a strong case for a penalty moments later when a reckless challenge from Gustavo Cabral saw him bring down the Brazilian, but referee Jesus Gil Manzano was not convinced.

Barca finally grabbed the opener, however, as Messi showed sublime skill to skip past Cabral before curling a left-footed strike past the helpless Alvarez.

A nasty clash of heads between Celta's Hugo Mallo and Barca's Jordi Alba brought a stop to play momentarily before a Messi free kick sailed over the bar. But the home side would double their advantage five minutes before half-time when Messi played through Neymar who delicately dinked the ball over Alvarez.

The home side, who had won five league games in succession, finished where they left off in the first-half and scored a third after 57 minutes. Messi spotted Rafinha's run into the box but the Brazilian's heavy touch fell to Rakitic, who appeared to be in an offside position, and the Croatian slotted the ball through the legs of Alvarez to make it 3-0.

Moments later, Messi was involved in the fourth which put the game out of reach for the visitors as his pass found Gerard Pique, who crossed to find his centre-back partner Umtiti to divert home for his first goal for the club.

Talisman Messi would then produce another piece of magic after 64 minutes to score his second of the game. The Argentinian picked the ball up on the right flank, sliced inside two Celta defenders and left Alvarez rooted to his spot.

Former Liverpool forward Iago Aspas went close to restoring some pride for Eduardo Berizzo's side but Barca ran out comprehensive winners.

Spanish Primera División Standings

1 Barcelona 24 +38 54
2 Atletico Madrid 24 +17 47
3 Real Madrid 24 +12 45
4 Sevilla FC 24 +10 37
5 Getafe 24 +9 36
6 Alavés 24 -3 36
7 Real Sociedad 24 +5 34
8 Real Betis 24 -3 33
9 Valencia 24 +4 32
10 Eibar 24 -1 31
11 Athletic Bilbao 24 -4 30
12 Levante 24 -7 30
13 Leganes 24 -5 29
14 Espanyol 24 -10 29
15 Girona 24 -9 27
16 Real Valladolid 24 -10 26
17 Celta Vigo 24 -7 24
18 Villarreal 24 -5 23
19 Rayo Vallecano 24 -14 23
20 Huesca 24 -17 18