Barcelona 6-0 Athletic Bilbao: Suarez, Messi and Neymar all score
By Grant Miles
Last Updated: 18/01/16 7:06am
Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick to help Barcelona secure a 6-0 win over 10-man Athletic Bilbao at the Nou Camp on Sunday.
Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic and Neymar scored the other three goals, with the Ballon d'Or winner only needed for 45 minutes as Enrique's side romped to their biggest La Liga win of the season.
Bilbao were forced to play with 10 men from the fourth minute as Gorka Iraizoz was sent off for taking down Suarez just inside the area.
Messi scored the resulting penalty and the visitors were unable to recover.
Neymar scored a brilliant deft chip with his left foot just after the half-hour mark to give his side a two-goal lead at the break.
Barcelona really put down a marker in the second half, netting four times. Suarez's hat-trick began two minutes after the break, with a prodded effort after chesting the ball down.
Neymar turned provider in the 62nd minute, giving Rakitic a simple tap in. Further goals from Suarez in the 68th and 82nd minute secured an emphatic victory for the hosts.
The result puts Barcelona two points behind Atletico Madrid with a game in hand still to play in February against Sporting Gijon while Athletic Bilbao moved down to ninth position on goal difference.
Messi was serenaded by the Nou Camp faithful before kick-off in the first game at Barca's stadium since he collected a record fifth Ballon d'Or on Monday in Zurich.
A huge banner saying 'Congratulations Leo' was unfurled as he paraded the trophy in front of the fans and he was able to mark the celebrations by scoring Barca's first goal from the spot - although his game ended prematurely at the break, taken off for Arda Turan as a precaution.
Although Barca trampled over Athletic once Messi had scored, Athletic missed an early chance that could have completely changed the dynamic of the game.
With two minutes on the clock, Gerard Pique surrendered the ball to Iker Muniain on the edge of the area when attempting to give it to goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who was left stranded. The forward passed to Javier Eraso, who took too long to get his shot away and eventually sent the ball over the bar.
Barca went down the other end and a misplaced pass from Xabier Etxeita allowed Suarez to race into the box. In a panic, Iraizoz came out and sent the Uruguayan flying, giving referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz little option but to point to the spot and show a red card to the goalkeeper.
Iago Herrerin was brought on in place of Muniain and his first act was to pick the ball out of the bottom corner after Messi had smashed the penalty beneath him.
Suarez set up Neymar on the break to score the second in the 31st minute before he worked a sublime one-two combination with the Brazil striker to score after the break.
Neymar then dribbled through the defense to provide an assist for Rakitic before Suarez steered in Turan's pass in the 68th minute and then headed home Sergio Busquets' cross with eight minutes to play to round off a comfortable win.