Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick for Barcelona against Celta Vigo on matchday-12 of the 2019-20 LaLiga. The result propelled the two-time defending champions to the top of the table, ahead of arch-rivals Real Madrid on goal difference.
The diminutive Argentinian's three-goal haul against Vigo was his 34th Liga hat-trick, taking him level with erstwhile solo record holder Cristiano Ronaldo for most hat-tricks in the Spanish top-flight. The next active player in the Liga with most hat-tricks is Messi's teammate Luis Suarez, with 10.
Messi recorded his first hat-trick in the Liga, and the first of his career, against Real Madrid in the 2007-08 season. The Bernabeu faithful had provided a rare standing ovation to an opposition player on the night Barcelona drew 3-3 at the home of the capital club.
The Barcelona captain became the only player to score eight Liga hat-tricks during the 2011-12 season, until Ronaldo equaled the feat by netting as many hat-tricks during the 2014-15 season.
Messi's hat-trick in Barcelona's 6-1 Liga win over Rayo Vallecano in the 2015-16 season broke the long-standing record of Telmo Zarra (23) for most hat-tricks in the Spanish top-flight. However, Ronaldo soon streaked past Messi for the most Liga hat-tricks and ended the 2017-18 season up 34-30 in the list of most three (or more)-goal hauls in the Spanish top-flight.
After Ronaldo's transfer to Juventus last summer Messi scored three Liga hat-tricks in the 2018-19 season, before drawing level with the Portugal captain's mark of 34 against Celta Vigo yesterday.
Messi's hat-trick against Celta marked the 19th different team against which the Barcelona captain has scored three or more goals in the LaLiga. The diminutive Argentinian has scored three Liga hat-tricks apiece against Valencia, Osasuna, Espanyol and Deportivo La Coruña, two each against Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Málaga, Granada, Sevilla, Levante and Rayo Vallecano, while a further eight hat-tricks have come against eight other Liga clubs.
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