Lionel Messi scored four goals as reigning champions Barcelona thrashed Eibar 5-0 to record a fourth consecutive win in La Liga and put the pressure back on title rivals Real Madrid.
The Ballon d’Or winner showed his class with a stunning opener on 14 minutes as he bamboozled three defenders before showing the incredible balance to dink the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic.
Messi added a second on 37 minutes when he ran onto Arturo Vidal’s pass to smash the ball across Dmitrovic and into the far corner before Argentina forward completed his hat trick on 40 minutes as he took advantage of some lax defending when he attempted to tee up strike partner Antoine Griezmann, but the ball found its way back to coolly slotted home.
New signing Martin Braithwaite came on for his debut with late on and had a hand in the fourth as his effort was saved into Messi’s path, but the 32-year-old still took the opportunity to sit Dmitrovic down before passing into an empty net three minutes from time.
Arthur added a fifth two minutes later after Braithwaite was denied.
Barcelona move two points above Real Madrid, who face Levante later.