With the Rojiblancos having scored eight goals in their last two outings and Barcelona labouring against Valencia in midweek, some thought a shock may have been on the cards.
But Pep Guardiola`s men laid on a performance reminiscent of the one that saw them hit Osasuna for eight last Saturday, with Messi joined on the scoresheet by David Villa, while Joao Miranda also put through his own goal.
Messi`s treble saw him go stride-for-stride with Ronaldo who scored three for Real Madrid against Rayo Vallecano, and was his 12th hat-trick for the club.
His side also managed to keep man-of-the-moment Radamel Falcao quiet, with the Colombia striker having scored six goals in his previous three games.
Barca were keen to stamp their mark on the game from the off and they did, although they had to watch Tiago hit their bar before they could.
With nine minutes gone, Xavi`s crossfield pass was brought down on the chest by Villa who then slipped in past Miranda and finished across the body of Thibaut Courtois.
It was a horror night for the on-loan Chelsea stopper, who then rushed out to meet a Messi shot, only to see his save fly into the body of the back-tracking Mirando and then back into the net.
Messi was offside in the build-up to the goal, but such was the speed of Barcelona`s play that the linesman could have been forgiven for missing it.
In teaming rain, two became three in the 26th minute when Messi took a throw by the right corner flag, got the ball back off Thiago and then skipped past three opponents before beating Courtois at his near post.
Almost a spectator as Messi shone, Cesc Fabregas hit the bar with a chip, before his second-half pass sent Messi clear, only for Courtois to keep him out.
The keeper then denied Villa but was fortunate to see Messi off-target when he spilled a Thiago cross.
It was only a temporary halt to the flow of goals, though, as with 12 minutes left Messi ghosted across the edge of the box and hit low across Courtois and into the bottom corner.
He was not done there either, taking Villa`s pass to the left of the goal and drilling through Courtois` legs to put the seal on another memorable night.