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Messi scores twice in Barcelona routine wun

Lionel Messi
Messi has scored 16 direct free-kick goals since 2016-17, 10 more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues

Lionel Messi scored two goals and provided two assists as Barcelona thrashed Real Valladolid 5-1 to return to the top of La Liga.

He then completed his fine performance by slipping a ball through the defence for Luis Suarez to sweep in his side’s fifth.

Barcelona were not in action at the weekend after their game with Real Madrid was postponed because of safety fears surrounding the ongoing protests in Catalonia.

Barcelona
The two teams line up as fans display an Independencia banner prior to the game

That allowed Granada, who had only returned to the top flight this season, the opportunity to instead become the Spanish top flight’s unlikely leaders as they beat Real Betis 1-0.

Barcelona needed to win to reclaim top spot, which they did in impressive style with Messi at his scintillating best.

Earlier, Atletico Madrid were held to a 1-1 draw by Alaves.

Alvaro Morata gave Atletico the lead after finishing off a fine team move but an excellent long-range strike by former West Ham forward Lucas Perez earned Alaves a point.

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