FC Barcelona thoroughly dominated Atletico Osasuna on their way to an easy 7-0 win on Sunday, keeping the team in the race for the La Liga title.
First-half goals from Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez and Andres Iniesta ensured the Blaugrana would cruise to an easy win, and Messi's second after the break made him Barcelona's all-time top scorer with 370 club goals, as reported by Barcelona's official Twitter account:
The Argentinian becomes the all-time highest goalscorer for FC Barcelona with 370 goals! pic.twitter.com/6PRU7KNC0z— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 16, 2014
The Argentinian forward scored his record-setting goal from a difficult angle, as shared by VAVEL's Adam Perkins:
The goal with which Lionel Messi created yet more history: becoming Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer. https://t.co/X8qm2QkzV9— Adam Perkins (@Adam_Perkins3) March 16, 2014
Cristian Tello added a late goal before Messi capped off his incredible game with a third goal, completing his hat-trick and a magical afternoon.
Barcelona weren't done, though, as Pedro added one more to put the final score of 7-0 on the board.
Osasuna simply couldn't keep up with a dominant Barcelona. The Catalan club held a decisive 75 percent of possession during the first half, per WhoScored.com.
After a slow start, Messi's first goal opened the floodgates for Barcelona, with Sanchez and Iniesta taking full advantage. Iniesta's goal in particular was a beauty, as the Spanish midfielder showed his range with a stunning strike from the edge of the box.
Barca Fans Club has the Vine:
But as stunning as Iniesta's goal was, substitute Tello did even better:
Messi threatened an overmatched Osasuna defense all game long and put together one of his finest performances of the year so far, completing 84 percent of his passes, per WhoScored, and scoring three excellent goals for his club.
Unsurprisingly, observers showered the four-time Ballon d'Or winner with praise for his performance. David Cotterill didn't mince his words:
370 goals by messi already in his career and he's still only 26!! 🙈 the guy is unbelievable. The greatest player of all time— David Cotterill (@cotterill_david) March 16, 2014
Sponsor Adidas already has a new line of boots ready to commemorate Messi's record, as shared by the company's Twitter feed:
According to Messi Stats, those 370 goals weren't the only impressive statistic of the day:
30 | Messi has now scored 30+ goals for Barcelona the 6th consecutive season: 38 - 47 - 53 - 72 - 60 - 30 (ongoing)— MESSISTATS (@MessiStats) March 16, 2014
WhoScored got in on the action:
Lionel Messi: Has scored more goals vs Osasuna today (3) than Osasuna have scored against Barcelona in their last 4 games combined (2)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 16, 2014
The Argentinian forward was simply unstoppable all afternoon, using his incredible movement skills to wreak havoc on the Osasuna defense. Flanked by Pedro and Sanchez, the constant overlapping runs created acres of space for Barcelona's attackers to exploit, and the embarrassing 7-0 scoreline was a logical result.
Pedro in particular looked very impressive, building on what has already been an excellent season for the youngster. His scoring output has increased dramatically compared to last season:
Pedro: Has now scored twice as many La Liga goals (14) for Barcelona this season as he did in the whole of last season (7)— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 16, 2014
With Neymar struggling in recent weeks, it looks very likely Pedro will get the chance to start when Barcelona take on Real Madrid next week.
Real still lead the Catalans by four points in the race for the La Liga crown, and next week's Clasico will go a long way in determining which team will emerge as champions. Barcelona's dress rehearsal couldn't have gone any better, but archrivals Madrid will present a different kind of challenge entirely.