Hat-trick and 400th Barca goal for Messi

Sun Dec 7, 2014 5:42pm EST
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By Tim Hanlon

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Lionel Messi scored yet another hat-trick and surpassed 400club goals as Barcelona came from behind to win the Catalan derby 5-1 against Espanyol in La Liga on Sunday.

The Argentine, who holds the La Liga and Champions League scoring records, produced a now familiar devastating performance to take his record to 402 goals for Barca in all competitions, including 28 in friendlies.

Messi produced his tour de force just a day after Cristiano Ronaldo, his rival for title of world's best player, scored a La Liga record 23rd hat-trick against Celta Vigo in a 3-0 win for leaders Real Madrid.

The win left Barca in second place in La Liga, two points behind Real.

Messi may have two fewer La Liga hat-tricks than Ronaldo but he has 29 to the Portuguese striker's 27 in official matches for their Spanish clubs.

Former Barca player Sergio Garcia put Espanyol ahead at the Nou Camp but Messi, who had earlier hit the crossbar with a free kick, equalized before halftime, his landmark 400th goal coming with a clinical strike from the edge of the area.

Shortly after the break, Luis Suarez found the Argentine and he again hit the corner of the net from a similar distance.

Espanyol were in disarray and Gerard Pique was allowed a free header from a corner to add to the lead after 53 minutes.   Continued...

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (L) celebrates with team mates Neymar and Luis Suarez (R) after scoring his second goal against Espanyol during their Spanish first division soccer match at Nou Camp stadium in Barcelona December 7, 2014.  REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino