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Barcelona vs Eibar. Spanish La Liga.

Camp NouAttendance49,693.

Barcelona 6

  • L Messi (20th minute pen, 59th minute, 62nd minute, 87th minute)
  • Paulinho (38th minute)
  • D Suárez (53rd minute)

Eibar 1

  • S Enrich (57th minute)

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Barcelona 6-1 Eibar: Four-goal Lionel Messi haul moves Barca five clear

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Lionel Messi scored his 28th La Liga hat-trick in Barcelona's 6-1 rout of Eibar at the Camp Nou.

Lionel Messi scored four goals as Barcelona thrashed Eibar 6-1 to move five points clear at the top of La Liga.

Having put Barca ahead with a 20th-minute penalty, and seen Paulinho double their lead on 38 minutes, Messi was the focal point of an improved second-half display from Ernesto Valverde's men as he notched his 28th league hat-trick.

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Denis Suarez, preferred in attack to the rested Luis Suarez, also found the net on the night as Barca maintained their 100 per cent start to the campaign in style.

Eibar gave a lethargic Barca a run for their money early on, but were consigned to a seventh straight defeat to their illustrious opponents, with Sergi Enrich's second-half strike mere consolation.

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Ernesto Valverde made six changes as Luis Suarez dropped to the bench. With Ousmane Dembele ruled out for four months with a hamstring injury, Denis Suarez started to the left of Messi, while there were also starts for Nelson Semedo, Javier Mascherano and Lucas Digne.

Barca were slow out of the traps and were almost made to pay as Enrich evaded the offside trap but failed to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a tame effort, before Takashi Inui was also denied by the German.

Barca were toothless in attack until 20 minutes when Messi converted a penalty after Alejandro Galvez was penalised for a foul on Nelson Semedo.

Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona celebrates with his team-mate Gerard Deulofeu of FC Barcelona after scoring his team's first goal v Eibar

But that ushered in a period of Barca dominance as Paulinho, making his first start for the club, headed in his second goal in as many games, and Suarez lashed in the hosts' third after Eibar keeper Marko Dmitrovic parried a fierce Messi drive on 53 minutes.

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Eibar responded immediately as Enrich converted a David Junca cross to reduce the arrears, but their joy was short-lived as Messi threaded the ball home to restore Barca's three-goal lead and sealed his hat-trick two minutes later with a low shot beyond Dmitrovic.

Paulinho jumps for the ball during the Spanish Liga football match Barcelona vs Espanyol at the Camp Nou stadium
Image: Paulinho scored on his first full start for Barcelona

Substitute Ruben Pena hit the post as Eibar pushed for a late consolation, but Messi has the final word, converting Aleix Vidal's cut-back to seal a resounding victory.

Eibar hit the woodwork for the second time late on with a Charles' header, but nothing would take the gloss off a fine display from the Catalans as they continued their fine start to the season.

Man of the Match - Lionel Messi

There were some people who claimed Messi was past his best. But the Argentinian is increasingly proving to be in the best form of his stellar career.

Barcelona's midfielder from Spain Denis Suarez (R) celebrates  with Barcelona's forward from Argentina Lionel Messi after scoring during the Spanish league

His performance against Eibar was simply devastating as he scored four to almost single-handedly keep his side's 100 per cent start to the season intact - and scarily for future opponents, he could easily have scored even more.

What's next?

Barcelona will try and extend their 100 per cent start to the season when they make the short trip north to take on La Liga new-boys Girona on Saturday. Eibar, meanwhile, will look to bounce back from Tuesday's defeat when Celta Vigo travel to Gipuzkoa.

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