Lionel Messi news: The Barcelona star close to breaking Cristiano Ronaldo's LaLiga record
What's the story?
Barcelona captain Lionel Messi's goal-scoring exploits against Real Betis on Sunday night has brought him closer to breaking an incredible LaLiga record held by the former Real Madrid star, Cristiano Ronaldo.
In case you didn't know...
Messi scored one of his finest hat-tricks to register a 4-1 victory over Real Betis in the Spanish top flight on Sunday. The win served as the perfect revenge on the hosts who defeated the Catalan giants 4-3 at Camp Nou in November last year
The five-time Ballon d'Or winner opened the scoring with a superb free kick in the 25th minute and then scored two later in the game to complete his stunning hat-trick.
Luis Suarez, who displayed incredible partnership with the Argentine, also found himself on the scoresheet in a moment of individual brilliance.
The win means Barcelona have earned 66 points so far this season and are ten points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid and twelve clear of rivals Real Madrid in the league.
The heart of the matter
While Ronaldo holds the record for the most hat-tricks in LaLiga (34), Messi's hat-trick against Real Betis, which marks his 33rd in the Spanish top flight, gets him a step closer to breaking Ronaldo's record.
According to Goal, the 31-year-old is now only one hat-trick away from equaling Ronaldo's LaLiga record and two away from breaking it.
Messi has been in phenomenal form this season, having netted 27 goals in LaLiga to become the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues so far this season.
The Argentine has also recorded more direct free-kick goals and more goals from outside the box than any of his competitors.
While Barcelona will next play Espanyol in the league after the international break, Ronaldo's Juventus will lock horns with Empoli.