Lionel Messi has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo's record for the most hat-tricks in La Liga history after scoring another treble in Barcelona's 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.
In the week he moved above rival Ronaldo with a sixth Ballon d'Or success, Messi showed why he was voted the world's best player with his impressive display at Camp Nou.
The 32-year-old scored two long-range goals in the first half and added a third seven minutes from time to make it 35 career hat-tricks in the Spanish top-flight. That is one more than Ronaldo, who spent nine years with Real Madrid before joining Serie A giant Juventus in 2018.
Victory moved Barca back to the top of the table, with the champion above Madrid on goal difference ahead of the first Clasico of the season later this month.
- Messi reaches double figures for record 14th LaLiga season running -
Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi also became the only player to score 10 or more goals in each of the past 14 seasons in Europe's top-five leagues with a treble against Real Mallorca.
The first of Messi's strikes in Saturday's La Liga clash, a 25-yard effort that curled away from Manolo Reina, took him into double figures for the league campaign.
The Argentina international doubled his tally before the interval with another goal from range to make it 11 in 10 league appearances this term. Messi's highest-scoring league season for Barca came in 2011-12 when he reached 50 goals in 37 appearances.
- Messi hat-trick a good way to celebrate Ballon d'Or – Barca boss Valverde -
Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said Lionel Messi's record-breaking hat-trick was a "good way to celebrate the Ballon d'Or". After Messi's 35th league treble, Barca boss Valverde hailed the 32-year-old star post-game at Camp Nou.
"Unbelievable," Valverde told reporters after Barca regained top spot ahead of rivals Real Madrid. "It was a good way to celebrate the Ballon d'Or."
While Messi dominated headlines with his latest match-winning display, Barca team-mate Luis Suarez scored a stunning back-heel to round off a fluid passing move against Mallorca. On Suarez's 43rd-minute goal, Valverde added: "The situation took me by surprise. I thought it was a pass to a team-mate."
"It surprised me, but it was an extraordinary goal. I told him that there had been a few easier chances and this one, which was improbable, went in."