Messi gets three in Barca stroll

Barcelona’s last League fixture before the Clasico ended in a resounding 7-0 win over Osasuna.

La Blaugrana play Real Madrid next Sunday and outside of the first 20 minutes were barely given a workout by Los Rojillos.

Lionel Messi grabbed a hat-trick to equal and then surpass Paulinho Alcantara as Barcelona’s most prolific scorer, goals in friendlies included, reaching the 369 mark with his first after 19 minutes.

Alexis added a second minutes later after Iniesta and Jordi Alba opened up the Osasuna defence and found the winger for an easy finish.

Iniesta made it three with a well-struck left-footed effort from outside of the penalty area, sending the ball into the far corner of Andres’ goal.

Messi’s second arrived just past the hour mark as he surpassed Paulinho and closed in on Hugo Sanchez in the all-time La Liga scorer’s list.

Christian Tello had been on the field less than a minute when he cut inside and smashed the ball past Andres for the fifth time.

Messi got his third and Barca’s sixth with only a few minutes to play as Barca added emphasis to the win.

Pedro put the exclamation mark on the score line as the game entered injury time.

Barca put eight goals past Osasuna in 2011 and racked up a similar score line here.

Despite the battering that followed, Osasuna actually had the better of the early going – Barca dominated possession as would be expected but the chances fell to the visitors.

Oriol Riera had the ball in the back of the net after Victor Valdes parried Emiliano Armenteros’ powerful effort, but Riera was rightly flagged offside.

Alvaro Cejudo also had a reasonable effort after Osasuna repeated the corner that opened up Atletico Madrid.

But it was Barca who took the lead through Messi, who turned in Alexis’ cross from the right after Xavi teed up the Chile international.

Alexis doubled the lead when he turned in Alba’s cross after the left-back’s exchange with Iniesta.

It was Iniesta’s turn to get on the score sheet 13 minutes later, thumping a long-range effort past Andres after being given time on the edge of the Osasuna penalty area.

Dani Alves followed Iniesta’s lead with a drive from range of his own but Andres was able to turn the ball over the bar.

Xavi was next, from inside the area, his volley well saved by Andres, while Pedro could have netted after a flamboyant move involving Iniesta and Alves.

Osasuna’s start gave little indication as to what was forthcoming as Barca capitalised on their excellent end to the first half with more of the same in the second.

Pedro came close to scoring one of the goals of the season when his turn, step over and run into the Osasuna box ended in the ball hitting the side netting, rather than the back.

Messi’s second came after Iniesta’s run into the Osasuna area via an emphatic shot from a tight angle despite the ball appearing stuck under his feet.

He nearly had a hat-trick when Valdes’ throw sent Pedro away but Messi beat both the goalkeeper and the crossbar.

Andres produced a smart save to keep out a Messi effort from the edge of the area but had no chance when Tello unleashed a curling strike from outside the area only seconds after replacing Alexis.

There was still time for Messi’s hat-trick and Pedro’s contribution, although the game was over as a contest after 34 minutes.

With the Clasico on the horizon, though, Barca in this form will make a real fight of the title race.

Barcelona 7-0 Osasuna

Messi 19 63, 88, Alexis 21, Iniesta 34, Tello 79, Pedro 90

Barcelona:Valdes; Alves, Bartra, Mascherano (Adriano 82), Alba; Busquets, Xavi (Song 61), Iniesta; Alexis (Tello 77), Pedro, Messi

Osasuna: Andres; Oier, Loties, Arribas, Damia; Cejudo, Raoul Loe, Silva; Armenteros (Labato 61), Roberto Torres (Punal 70); Oriol Riera (Acuna 84)

Tags Alexis Sanchez Andres Iniesta Cristian Tello Lionel Messi Pedro