Days after being voted the fifth best player in the world, Lionel Messi scored two world-class free-kicks in a derby thumping of Espanyol.
Lionel Messi produced an incredible individual performance as LaLiga leaders Barcelona demolished Espanyol 4-0 in Saturday’s Catalan derby.
Messi placed fifth in this week’s Ballon d’Or voting, the first time he has been outside the top three since 2006, but offered a timely reminder of his enduring brilliance at RCDE Stadium.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner was inspirational for Barca, opening the scoring with an unstoppable free-kick, then setting up Ousmane Dembele for a superb curling finish.
17’GOAL! Espanyol 0-1 Barcelona (Messi)
GOOOOOAAAALLLL!! Espanyol 0-1 Barcelona! Some Messi magic gives Barcelona the breakthrough. Duarte brings down the forward around 27 yards from goal to concede a free-kick, and he punishes the Espanyol centre-back by lifting the ball over the wall and into the top corner of Diego Lopez’s net.
26’GOAL! Espanyol 0-2 Barcelona (Dembele)
GOOOOAAALLL! Espanyol 0-2 Barcelona! Dembele doubles Barcelona’s tally with a fine finish into the top corner. The Frenchman works the ball onto his right foot after being picked out in the box by Messi and guides it past Diego Lopez.
45’GOAL! Espanyol 0-3 Barcelona (Suarez)
GOOOOAAALLL! Espanyol 0-3 Barcelona! What a way for Barcelona to round off a dominant first half, surely killing off the match through this Suarez strike. The Uruguayan striker latches on to Dembele’s through-ball, holds off David Lopez and somehow squeezes the ball through the legs of Diego Lopez from the tightest of angles.
65’GOAL! Espanyol 0-4 Barcelona (Messi)
GOOOOAAALLL! Espanyol 0-4 Barcelona! Messi remains on course for that fourth career hat-trick, as he converts yet another long-range free-kick. This one was just as good as the set-piece goal that opened the scoring, sending the ball up and over the wall into the opposite corner to his first.
73′ OFFSIDE! Duarte’s goal disallowed
ESPANYOL GOAL RULED OUT! Pique brings down Garcia to concede a free-kick, from which Garcia’s delivery is converted by Duarte. VAR is consulted to ascertain whether Duarte was offside when volleying the free-kick past Ter Stegen, which it turns out he was.
Espanyol XI: Diego López, H.Pérez, V.Sánchez, Ó. Duarte, Dídac , J.López, D.López, S.Darder, Borja Iglesias, M.Roca, Melendo
Subs: Roberto Jiménez, S.García, Rosales, Granero, Piatti, Naldo, Baptistao
Barcelona XI: L. Messi, L. Suárez, Piqué, I. Rakitić, Vidal, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, M. ter Stegen, Lenglet, Semedo, O. Dembélé
Subs: T. Vermaelen, Philippe Coutinho, Jasper Cillessen, D.Suárez, Munir, Carles Aleñá, Juan Miranda