BARCELONA, Spain, Sporting Alert – Lionel Messi scored a brilliant hat-trick to guide Barcelona to a 7-0 bashing of Celtics in Champions League Group C opener at the Nou Camp on Tuesday.
Messi netted the two opening goals for Barcelona in the 3rd and 27th minutes before completing his hat-trick on the hour mark, as the Spanish giants started the Champions League on a winning note.
A brace from Luis Suarez and one each from halftime substitute Andres Iniesta and Neymar rounded out the scoring for Luis Enrique’s side.
Messi blasted home a powerful left-footer after just three minutes to give the home side an ideal start in their first group match, following a pass from strike partner Neymar, before the Brazilian fed the Argentine international again to make it 2-0 shortly before the half hour mark.
Neymar then got his name on the scoresheet five minutes into the second half when he fired home a free-kick to start a 10-minute three-goal spread.
The Brazilian forward assisted substitute and midfield ace Iniesta for Barcelona fourth goal, delivering a well-measured pass for the Spanish international to volley home.
One minute later, Messi slid home a pass from Luis Suarez to complete his hat-trick and put Barcelona 5-0 head before Suarez scored twice in the 75th and 88th minutes to finish off the visitors.
Following the victory, Barca coach Luis Enrique sounded praises on his star forward, who he believes is the best in the world.
“Messi’s the best in the world in every position,” Enrique said in his post-game news conference.
“He plays with complete freedom to change his position as he wants.
“If he plays as a No.9, No.8 or No.6, he’s the best No.9, No.8 or No.6 in the world.
“He can judge the perfect pass from 40 yards; he can put the ball wherever he wants. For me, he’s the best player of all time.”