Lionel Messi scores hat-trick as Barcelona break record
Lionel Messi sparkled for Barcelona as Pep Guardiola's men made La Liga history with 16th straight win
Lionel Messi hit a hat-trick as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 3-0 at Camp Nou to set a new La Liga record of 16 successive wins in the Spanish top flight.
The win takes Pep Guardiola’s side past the previous record of 15 straight victories set by Alfredo Di Stefano’s Real Madrid team in 1960-1961 and extends their lead at the top of the La Liga table to 10 points.
Ballon d’Or winner Messi, who scored twice in 12 first-half minutes and again in the 79th, is refusing to get carried away with his own goalscoring form.
The 23-year-old, who has scored 24 league goals this season, said: “I’m happy with the win against a tough team who are not going through the best time and that could have made things hard for us.
“I am not thinking about being league top scorer at all. The important thing is that we continue this winning run as we have Real Madrid just behind us and we know they will fight to the end.”
Meanwhile, Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho insists he has not given up hope Real Madrid can still claim the La Liga title despite Barcelona’s form.
It has been suggested Madrid’s best chance of winning a trophy this season lies in cup competitions -Real will meet Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final in April after both sides booked their places in midweek -but Mourinho is still refusing to write off his side’s title chances.
Asked if Real Madrid should forget about winning the league, Mourinho said: “What we need to do is forget about the Copa del Rey until the final, which is at the end of April.
“Now we need to think about the league and the Champions League, in which we have the same chance of winning it as the other 15 teams that are still in it.
“In the league we are behind and for this reason the favourites are those in front. Mathematically it`s possible, and what`s mathematically possible, is possible. We need to continue winning games and doing our jobs.”
Mourinho, whose side host Real Sociedad on Sunday, also insisted he is happy in Madrid amid rumours about his long-term future with Los Blancos. He said: “We are working and improving on a structural and functional level, heading in a direction I like very much.
“I believe this will help make the club be powerful from a sports viewpoint, and allow it to win titles once more.Mourinho’s men host Real Sociedad on Sunday as they look to keep.”