Lionel Messi scored a landmark goal for Barcelona and Gonzalo Higuaín a second successive hat-trick for Real Madrid as the top two clubs in the Liga registered comfortable wins on Saturday.
Messi broke the deadlock in typically eye-catching fashion 11 minutes into Barça’s 3-0 win against Real Racing Club at Camp Nou, accelerating clear of the final defender before switching the ball from left foot to right and slotting the ball into an empty net with goalkeeper Toño bamboozled. It was the Argentinian’s 195th competitive goal for the club, moving him ahead of László Kubala in second on Barcelona’s all-time list: only César Rodríguez (235) is ahead.
Xavi Hernández (27), with his head, and Messi (68) added further goals to return the champions to the summit, a point ahead of a Madrid side who had beaten Real Betis Balompié 4-1 earlier in the evening. Higuaín, who scored hat-tricks against RCD Espanyol on 2 October and Chile for Argentina five days later, scored in the 46th, 70th and 73rd minutes. Kaká added the other just before the hour.
Valencia CF would have joined Madrid on 16 points had they not conceded a last-minute penalty away to RCD Mallorca, Tomer Hemed cancelling out Adil Rami’s opener (38). Getafe CF-Villarreal CF and Granada CF-Club Atlético de Madrid both finished 0-0.