Barcelona maintained the pressure on league leaders, Real Madrid with a comfortable away victory over Eibar. Goals from Dennis Suarez and the trinity of Messi, Suarez and Neymar helped the Catalans to a 4-0 win.
This win has now reduced the deficit with Real to just two points, who still have a game in hand. Sevilla are just one point ahead but the momentum is slowly shifting towards Luis Enrique's men as his side are now on a four-match winning streak.
The only negativve for Barcelona in this routine victory was the injury suffered by Sergio Busquets in the first half. The club has confirmed that the midfielder has sprained his right ankle which might see him longer on the sidelines along with Andres Iniesta who got injured in the last game.
Let's take a look at the player ratings from the match between Eibar and the reigning Spanish champions:
Yoel Rodriguez - 5.5/10
The Eibar goalkeeper made some fine saves and looked confident in the stops that he made. He could not do anything in the goals that they conceded but if it wasn't for him, Eibar would have had to endure a much more embarrassing night.
Ander Capa - 6.5/10
Capa had a good run in at right back as he tracked back well and also attacked with vigour. He looks like a player to watch out for because of his ball playing abilities.
Mauro Dos Santos - 5/10
He was a physical presence in defence for Eibar but failed to adjust to the pace of the game and showed slow recovery to the opposition’s attack.
Florian Lejuene - 5.5/10
A decent performance ruined by the mistake in the build-up to Luis Suarez's goal. Otherwise, Lejuene did not put a foot wrong defensively.
Antonio Luna - 5/10
Even the best defenders in the world would find it tough to mark Messi and Luna experienced that as he struggled to cope when the Argentine drifted inside.
Dani Garcia - 5.5/10
Garcia dictated the tempo of the game whenever he had the chance, which in itself was very less. But overall, the midfielder was confident with the ball at his feet.
Gonzalez Escalante - 4/10
Escalante was lucky not to be punished for the foul he committed on Sergio Busquets. He made a lot of errors for which Eibar paid the price.
Pedro Leon - 7/10
The Spaniard combined well with Capa on the right flank and forced Ter Stegen to a couple of good saves. He was the only positive for Eibar from last night.
Adrian Gonzalez - 5.5/10
He had a good first half with brilliant chances falling to him which he failed to convert. Adrian looked a bit frustrated in the second period as he could not find space to run into to create chances.
Takashi Inui - 4.5/10
Apart from a few good balls into the box, it was a disappointing game for Inui who could not trouble the Barcelona defence at all.
Sergi Enrich - 5/10
He troubled the Barcelona defenders at times but was man marked to perfection. Enrich saw his close range shot blocked by Mathieu which was his only effort on goal last night.
Fran Rico - 4.5/10
Rico was brought in to bring some creativity in the second half and was positioned behind Elrich but failed to play any incisive passes.
Ruben Pena - 5.5/10
He was deployed on the left wing and showed immense work rate throughout his entire cameo.
Cristian Riviera - 5/10
Riviera was brought on for the final few minutes but he could not do anything worth mentioning in his short performance.
Marc Andre ter Stegen - 6.5/10
The German made a couple of decent saves in the first half and was under a bit of pressure early on. He eased as the game went on and looked supremely confident with the ball. ter Stegen also made a stunning save from a Pedro Leon shot to keep a clean sheet.
Sergi Roberto - 5.5/10
Roberto delivered an average performance by Barcelona standards as he was decent in defence but hardly contributed going forward. This was primarily because of the high pressing game that Eibar employed in the first half.
Samuel Umtiti - 7/10
Umtiti played for the first time without a centre back partner in either Gerrard Pique or Javier Mascherano. He rose up to the challenge and was the leader of the backline last night. He was vocal and looked assured on the ball in the second half.
Jeremy Mathieu - 5.5/10
It was the Frenchman's first start for Barcelona since October and looked out of match practice, which cannot be held against him as he is just coming back from a long injury layoff. He looked nervous at times but recovered well in the final minutes to make some important blocks.
Jordi Alba - 6.5/10
Alba did well to control Eibar's early pressure and marked their main attacking threat, Pedro Leon really well. He also surged ahead whenever possible.
Sergio Busquets - N/A
He was taken off on a stretcher with less than 10 minutes on the clock due to an injury.
Ivan Rakitic - 6/10
The first league start for the Croatian since December, Rakitic had to play in the Busquets role, after his injury, which is not an easy task. He got on with the game well and played some crucial passes in the buildup to the goals.
Arda Turan - 6.5/10
Turan played in the Iniesta role last night and impressed. He pressed well, made some crucial passes but was unlucky not to add to his 6 goal tally of this season.
Neymar - 8/10
Apart from the goal that he scored in the dying stages of the game, it was his overall contribution which caught the eye. He was a constant menace to the Eibar defence and played some stunning passes to his teammates. This was Neymar's first goal from open play since October.
Lionel Messi - 9.5/10
Another masterclass from the Argentine who got on the scoresheet yet again with a simplest of finishes. Messi dropped deep to create opportunities and he succeeded in doing so as the Eibar backline had absolutely no answers to keep him silent.
Luis Suarez - 8/10
Suarez started the game slowly but gave a wonderful pass to Messi who scored. He himself slotted the ball home to score his 15th league goal of the current campaign. He looked sloppy in the beginning but improved remarkably in the second half.
Dennis Suarez - 7/10
The former Villarreal man was rewarded with a fine goal from outside the box which broke the deadlock for the Catalans. Suarez looked assured in position and might have guaranteed his place in the absence of Iniesta and Busquets.
Aleix Vidal - 6.5/10
Vidal has revived his Barcelona career as he continued his good form by delivering a lovely cross to Neymar for the final goal of the match.
Paco Alcacer - 6/10
Alcacer had little time to put his authority on the game but unselfishly let the ball run to Neymar in the buildup to the fourth goal.Published 23 Jan 2017, 09:27 IST