Messi’s best hat-tricks

Not only was this Messi's 31st Barcelona hat-trick in all competitions, it was also his 300th La Liga appearance.

His amazing performance, which included an assist for Neymar in addition to his three goals, saw him equal Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo's record of 23 La Liga hat-tricks. He is now tied with former Athletic Bilbao striker Telmo Zarra for domestic hat-tricks. If the three-times Ballon d’ Or winner continues his run of magical form he is likely to surpass that sooner rather than later.

Messi's first of the night came just five minutes before half time, as he got on the end of a Marc Bartra cross and stuck a low shot into the back of the net. His second came in the 59th minute, and his third with a penalty in the 65th minute. Only seven of his 31 hat-tricks have included penalties.

We take a look at some of Messi’s best trebles below:

2007 Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid – La Liga

A 19-year-old Messi announced himself to the world with his hat-trick in the 2007 El Clasico. Madrid went ahead three times and all three times Barcelona drew level thanks to the young Argentine. Messi became the first man in 12 years to get a hat-trick in this derby, joining only six other players in Barcelona's history who have done the same. His first goal came from his favourite area, coming down the right and wafting the ball in; his second was smashed into the net and his third, in the 90th minute, was a run into the box and a smash Iker Casillas couldn't save.

2010 – Barcelona 4-2 Real Zaragoza

In March 2010 Messi hit a rich vein of form, he scored his second hat-trick in two league games in a dominant display. This treble included what is considered one of his finest goals (by those brave enough to try and choose just a few). His first came in the fifth minute with a headed effort that seemed to be a direct response to his critics (once again, brave souls indeed). His second in the 66th minute was a breathtaking solo effort that saw him power through the Real Zaragoza defenders and smash a low left-footed strike into the bottom corner. In the 78th minute Messi scored his third from his favourite spot down the right, curling a shot in past the near post.

2010 Barcelona  4-1 Arsenal – Champions League

In 2010 Messi single-handedly thrashed Arsenal at the Nou Camp in their Champions League quarter final. Messi scored in the 21st minute with a powerful shot, he scored another in the 37th minute, his third in the 42nd and if he hadn't brutalised the London side enough he scored one more for good measure in the 88th minute.

2014 – Barcelona 5 – 1 Espanyol (La Liga)

Messi passed 400 La Liga goals thanks to his December 2014 Catalan derby hat-trick. This treble came just one day after Cristiano Ronaldo scored the La Liga record of 23 hat-tricks against Celta Vigo. Espanyol took an early lead, but Messi showed a sign of things to come with his equaliser from just outside the area. Just after half time he scored his second when he got on the end of a Luis Suarez cross and nutmegged a defender to knock it past Espanyol's keep and into the corner. Messi's third came just ten minutes from time as he applied a deft touch to an excellent pass from Pedro.

Which Messi hat-trick was your favourite? Tell us in the comments.

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