Messi showed he is world's best - Busquets
Lionel Messi demonstrated he is the best player in the world by demolishing Espanyol, according to Barcelona team-mate Sergio Busquets.
Messi scored two free-kicks as Barca won the Catalan derby 4-0 at RCDE Stadium, the first time he has achieved the set-piece feat in a LaLiga game.
The Barca captain also produced a moment of magic to set up Ousmane Dembele for a fine finish on the day he became the first LaLiga player to score at least 10 league goals in 13 consecutive seasons.
A record-smashing performance in the derby came just five days after Messi was placed fifth in the voting for the Ballon d'Or, the first time he has finished outside the top three since 2006.
Messi has won the award five times in a glittering career but was overlooked at Monday's ceremony with Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Cristiano Ronaldo and winner Luka Modric all receiving more votes.
Barca coach Ernesto Valverde described Messi finishing fifth as "absurd" and Busquets is in no doubt where Messi ranks among the elite.
"We already know what Leo is capable of and it's a pleasure to see him on a daily basis," Busquets said to Movistar.
"The level of effectiveness he has in training and matches is tremendous.
"He is fundamental in free-kicks, in open play, that's why he's the best player in the world."
Another night! pic.twitter.com/XoiiYHLNKh— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 8, 2018
Espanyol have now lost four league games in a row, their strong start to the season fading badly.
Coach Rubi accepted Barcelona outplayed his side but calmed fears over their recent form.
"I expected something more, but I did not expect them to open the scoring from a foul," Rubi said to Movistar.
"They dismantled us, I think the team did not play so badly but it went wrong.
"To beat Barca you have to play a perfect match and that has not happened.
"The alarm is that we have 21 points and we know how difficult it is to have points in the league.
"A bad moment, but we have to keep working."