Lionel Messi once again established himself as Barcelona’s best ever player and possibly the Greatest footballer of all time with a virtuoso display and hatrick that earned him a standing ovation and bow from 60,000 Real Betis fans.
Speaking about the performance, Gary Lineker said: “Indeed, there are great players, all-time great players and then there is Messi.”
Barcelona had lost the reverse fixture by a 4-3 scoreline and were caught on the break on several occasions only to be gutted by a Lionel Messi freekick in the 18th-minute after a foul on Arthur Melo had been made just on the edge of the box.
The Argentine stepped up and curled the ball into the far corner beyond the reach of Pau Lopez. He got his second soon after but it was Luis Suarez who did the most part of the job after the Uruguayan put the talisman through on goal with a back-heeled pass for the five-time Balon d’Or to put it past Pau.
That thwarted Real Betis hopes of coming back and every time they tried attacking, Barca broke them. Suarez should have made it three with a counter but he shot just wide off the upright.
He did make it three shortly afterwards after he skillfully put aside three Betis defenders and firing into the corner for a much difficult goal.
That’s who the Uruguayan has become. He missed a sitter, only to score a more difficult goal.
Betis pulled one back in the 82nd minute but it couldn’t count for more than a consolation goal as Messi got his third of the night with the clock on 85 minutes.
Ivan Rakitic laid the ball off for the Argentine for Messi to send a delicate chip and dink over the keeper from just inside the box which went in off the crossbar.
So good was the goal that it earned a standing ovation from Real Betis fans and this look from the beaten goalkeeper
Real Betis 1-4 Barcelona it ended.