Messi gala leads Barcelona to rout
BARCELONA, Spain (AP)
With his 22nd hat trick for Barcelona and fifth game of four goals or more, Messi increased his La Liga goals total to 202. The 25-year-old became the eighth player to reach 200, joining Telmo Zarra (251), Hugo Sanchez (234), Raul Gonzalez (228), Alfredo di Stefano (227), Cesar Rodriguez (223), Quini (219) and Pahino (210).
Messi has 44 goals this season, including 33 in La Liga. He is on pace to break his own Spanish league record of 50 goals from last season. The 25-year-old forward leads the league with 33 goals in 21 rounds, chased by Ronaldo on 21.
Barcelona hosts Real on Wednesday in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals.
With the ''clasico'' looming, there had been speculation that perhaps Messi would sit out Sunday's game at Camp Nou.
Instead, Messi stormed to his fourth career four-goal game. He scored five times in a single Champions League match last season.
Messi's first came in the 11th, when Xavi Hernandez intercepted goalkeeper Andres Fernandez's pass and found the Argentine forward, who brought the keeper to the ground with the subtlest of feints before rolling the ball home. That extended Messi's scoring streak to his last 16 starts.
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Midfielder Raoul Loe surprisingly leveled for Osasuna in the 24th, but the visitors' celebration was short lived.
Defender Alejandro Arribas received his second booking for blocking Adriano's strike with his arm, leaving his team with 10 men and Messi walking up to the penalty spot. Messi slotted the ball just inside the post to restore Barcelona's lead for good in the 27th.
The penalty was Messi's 200th career Spanish league goal, making him the eighth player to reach that mark.
After Messi had hit the post with header, Pedro Rodriguez finished off a pass from Dani Alves to make it 3-1 in the 40th from move again started by Xavi.
David Villa then participated in Messi's goals in the 56th and 58th, first working a one-two combination with the four-time world player of the year for him to score from an angle. Villa then made a back pass that Adriano sent on to Messi, who tapped in his fourth goal of the night.