Messi gives set-piece masterclass as Barca outclass Celta

Under pressure to deliver

Under pressure to deliver

Adding further fuel to the Messi vs Ronaldo debate, the diminutive phenom can now look to swing the pendulum in his favour by breaking that hat-trick record.

La Liga's reigning champions lost on the road to Levante last week and were then held by a spirited Slavia Praha side at Camp Nou in midweek. But the Catalan giants bounced back in style, with Messi leading the way with a superb hat-trick.

A penalty-kick in the 23rd minute preceded the set-piece masterclass that would soon unravel in Catalonia, while Sergio Busquets completed the rout in the 85th minute.

But anything Olaza could do, Messi could do better, and he did it TWICE with two stunning free-kick strikes either side of half-time.

Click through the gallery the players with the most hat-tricks in LaLiga history.

Both Blaugrana talisman Messi and Ronaldo have now netted 34 trebles in Spain's top tier, although the former Real Madrid forward, having previously played for Sporting CP and Manchester United before joining Juventus previous year, had a shorter stay in the division.

"Little by little he has been improving at free kicks, he used to find them hard. Having him around gives us a real boost".

The pressure is mounting on Valverde to turn things around in Catalonia, but the Barcelona boss insists that he isn't concerned about his job security and that he still has backing from within the club.

"My future at Barcelona does not worry me", Valverde said, as per Marca.

"He dominates the art of free-kick taking, and opponents know they can not afford to give away fouls near our area".

"When you lose a game it's always important to win the next one, especially at a club like ours. The other day we had a painful defeat and we had to win today", he said.

It leaves Barcelona and Real Madrid tied on 25 points as the El Clasico showdown on 18 December draws near.

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