Lionel Messi scores hat-trick on 300th La Liga game before Luis Suarez scores sensational scissor-kick as Barcelona thrash Levante

Barcelona 5 Levante 0

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The Independent Online

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick on his 300th La Liga game as Barcelona smashed Levante 5-0 at the Nou Camp on Sunday.

Barcelona are currently enjoying an 11-game winning run that has seen them ramp up the pressure on rivals Real Madrid - who are just a single point ahead of them in the race for the Spanish title.

Messi's treble means he has scored 14 goals in that run and taken his tally to 37 goals in 33 matches in all competitions this season, with 26 goals in the league; the forward, still only 27, increased his all-time record haul for La Liga to 269. It was the 31st hat-trick of his career.

Rival Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, failed to score for the third game running as Real Madrid beat Deportivo La Coruna 2-0. The Portuguese now has just four goals in his last 10 matches.

Neymar opened the scoring before former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, on as a substitute, rounded off the scoring with a fantastic scissor-kick.

"He's spectacular," Neyma said of Messi. "We have our dynamic now, things are coming easily, and we are playing our game. Messi and Suarez and I, we are understanding each other well. It's an honour to play with them."

Messi and Neymar have combined for 24 goals during Barcelona's winning run to quell a club crisis sparked by a loss at Real Sociedad in early January that was followed by the firing of its sports director and the club calling for early presidential elections this summer.

Head coach Luis Enrique said: "My players aren't euphoric because they know how tough it is to win a title.

"The number of games you win doesn't matter if they don't help you win titles."

Additional reporting from AP

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