Lionel Messi Sets Hat-trick Record

Lionel Messi Sets Hat-trick Record


Lionel Messi and Cesc FábregasLionel Messi bagged a hat-trick and Neymar grabbed four assists as Barcelona launched their Champions League campaign in style with a 7-0 thrashing of Celtic on Tuesday.

Messi and Neymar were reunited with Luis Suarez from the start for the first time this season and took no time in getting reacquainted as all three were on the scoresheet.

Two goals from Messi either side of Moussa Dembele’s missed penalty for Celtic gave Barca a comfortable halftime lead.

And there was no let-up for the Scottish champions after the break as Neymar, Messi, Andres Iniesta and a Suarez double completed the rout.

“It has been many games since we have been able to enjoy being on the pitch together and today we did,” Suarez told TV3.

Suarez was lauded as the best striker in the world by Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, who was in charge of the Uruguayan for two years at Liverpool, on the eve of the game.

And Rodgers admitted the gulf in class told, but claimed there was no reason for Celtic to be embarrassed.

“There can be no embarassment because they do that to better teams than ourselves,” said Rodgers.

“They are special players. It is a front three that can occupy as many players as you want.

“We had a back five, but their movement speed and touch combined, they are world class players and they showed that tonight.”

However, Barca could face further sanctions from UEFA after thousands of separatist Catalan flags were again flown at the Camp Nou.

The Spanish champions were fined €150 000 by Uefa for the presence of the flags during last season’s competition, €50 000 of which was suspended for two years.