Barcelona maestro given standing ovation by Real Betis fans after yet more hat-trick heroics
Messi, 31, scored his 51st career hat-trick in a 4-1 win at their La Liga rivals on Sunday night
We’ve become accustomed to a Lionel Messi masterclass over the last decade and the majestic Argentine served up another one of those on Sunday night as Barcelona ran rampant at Real Betis.
After stealing the show against Lyon in the Champions League in the week with a double in a resounding 5-1 victory, the little magician was up to his old tricks back in La Liga as his stunning hat-trick put Real Betis to the sword in a 4-1 away win.
Remarkably it was his 51st career hat-trick, and it wasn’t just the visiting faithful who were waxing lyrical about the 31-year-old.
Messi left his team-mate Clement Lenglet in disbelief after he wrapped up his hat-trick with a simply stunning lobbed effort.
And the sumptuous strike, with his first touch, was met with widespread applause from all across the ground, with Betis fans acknowledging the presence of a genuine football genius.
They stood, applauded Messi and joined with Barcelona fans in chanting his name.
Messi himself was clearly taken aback by the reception admitting after the game he had never witnessed anything like that ever before.
“I’m very grateful. It’s never happened to me before,” he said.
“They always treat us very well, regardless of whether we’re rivals.”
On a night to remember for Messi and co, the forward also etched himself into another piece of Catalan folklore, overtaking Xavi as the player with the most wins in Barcelona history – with 477 successes now to his name.
Messi is also now just one goal shy of becoming the first player in Europe’s top five leagues to hit 30 for the season after notching his third league hat-trick of the campaign against Betis.
Remarkably, he has reached 30 + league goals in seven of the past nine seasons, with that total soon to reach eight.
At the age of just 31 there were be plenty more goals and records for Messi to break – that’s for sure.