Messi leads Barcelona to victory

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IOL pic jan28 soccer barcelona lionel messi

Associated Press

Barcelona's Lionel Messi celebrates a goal during the team's La Liga clash against Osasuna in Barcelona, Spain, on Sunday.

Madrid - Lionel Messi hit four goals for leaders Barcelona and Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a hat-trick for Real Madrid as both sides recorded crushing La Liga victories on Sunday ahead of their midweek King's Cup semi-final clash.

Messi took his league tally for the season to 33 and 202 overall in Barca's 5-1 win at home to 10-man Osasuna while Ronaldo passed the landmark of 300 club goals and now has 21 this term as Real thumped Getafe 4-0 at the Bernabeu.

Barca's return to winning ways after last weekend's 3-2 reverse at Real Sociedad, their first defeat of the campaign, put them 11 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid who visit Athletic Bilbao later on Sunday (20h00 GMT).

Champions Real, whose hopes of a second straight title are effectively over with 21 of 38 matches played, are four points behind Atletico in third spot.

World Player of the Year Messi became the first player to score on 11 successive La Liga matchdays and, at 25, the youngest to reach 200 league goals.

He has scored more goals himself than all the other La Liga teams apart from Real and Atletico and is on course to smash the record for the most in a season (50) he set last term.

Real host holders Barca in their King's Cup semi-final first leg on Wednesday and both coaches rested key players on Sunday. - Reuters


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