Ranking Lionel Messi's Top 10 Barcelona Hat-Tricks
Lionel Messi and scoring goals for Barcelona go hand in hand.
Ever since he first donned the Blaugrana, the Argentine has been prolific and hat-tricks have become his speciality.
Thirty-two career triples to date is an insane statistic and only his nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo can compare.
Some of Messi's hat-tricks have been decisive, others record-breaking. All have been brilliant.
Let's take a look at 10 of his best...
10. Vs. Deportivo La Coruna 2012
Has there ever been a more topsy-turvy game in La Liga?
The Catalans arrives in La Coruna for a game against Deportivo and not many supporters or experts would've guessed what was about to unfold at the Riazor Stadium.
Nine goals, and a 5-4 classic followed, underpinned by a super Messi hat-trick.
A back heel from Cesc Fabregas set Messi up on the edge of the area and his bullet found the top corner. The same combination allowed Messi to fire in with his right foot.
His third was the best of the bunch. Running away from goal, he turned on a sixpence and with three players closing in, his slaloming run bamboozled before his unerring accuracy found the far corner.
9. Vs. Apoel 2014
Of all of the triples that Messi has scored, this is the only one where all three goals were scored with his right foot.
It was also one of three hat-tricks scored within a 15-day period and saw him become the all-time record Champions League scorer.
All three finishes weren't vintage Messi but the goals were a platform from which Barca would comfortably win the game.
8. Vs. Granada 2013
Three goals against Granada in March 2012 would normally be considered as fairly routine for Messi but on this particular occasion, there was another reason to celebrate.
Cesar Rodriguez had long been Barca's record scorer but on March 20, the Argentine would topple his mark and plunder the first of many scoring records that have followed.
It's worth recalling that Messi was only 24 years of age at the time, and had taken less than seven full seasons to install himself as Barca's best ever.
7. Vs. Ajax 2013
Ajax and Barcelona have been joined in a footballing sense ever since Rinus Michel and Johan Cruyff made the transition from the Dutch champions to the Catalans.
The synergy between the two is obvious, from the way that the clubs play their football to their outlook on bringing through academy youngsters.
In the 2013 Champions League, one of Barca's own, Messi, gave the team from Amsterdam a lesson in finishing.
6. Vs. Rayo Vallecano 2015
Another of Messi's six hat-tricks in the 2014/15 season, the one scored against Rayo Vallecano was the quickest of his career, coming as it did in just 11 minutes.
Like many of his others, there was also a significance attached to it.
Not only did it draw him level with Cristiano Ronaldo for goals scored in the season—he had been 13 goals behind at one stage—but it was also his 24th La Liga hat-trick.
That took him one clear of Ronaldo's 23 and also set another new mark domestically.
5. Vs. Valencia 2013
The hat-trick that Messi scored at Mestalla in 2013 was exceptional.
All three goals came in the first half and saw Barca coast into a three-goal lead. Valencia would come back into the game but the Argentine's goals would prove decisive.
Winning a footrace for his opener, including slotting home when under real pressure, saw the entire Barca bench on their feet.
His second was a lesson in how to work the angles cutting it across the goalkeeper, with the third an instinctive thrust of his leg when unmarked centrally.
4. Vs. Bayer Leverkusen 2012
Bayer Leverkusen were absolutely destroyed at Camp Nou in the 2012 Champions League.
The 7-1 result is an absolute mauling by anyone's definition and chief protagonist was none other than Messi.
He was unplayable on the night and his five-goal haul was the first time any player had scored their own personal manita in European football's premier competition.
3. Vs. Sevilla 2014
It was a record that had stood for almost 60 years.
Telmo Zarra's La Liga scoring record was said to be one of the marks that could never be surpassed.
Lionel Messi managed in within the space of 10 seasons—it took Zarra 15—and at the age of 27.
As with his taking of Raul's mantle in the Champions League, Messi couldn't just score one. Three was the magic number, and his hat-trick was just that. Magic.
2. Vs. Arsenal 2010
Arsenal had come back from two goals down in the first leg to grab a 2-2 draw, and for all intents and purposes, make a game of this two-legged tie.
Messi, relatively anonymous in the first leg was anything but in the second.
The Gunners simply couldn't get near him on the night and his four goals were exceptional.
A fortuitous ball back into his path was dispatched with aplomb but his best goal of the four, perhaps one of his best ever, was his hat-trick goal.
As Manuel Almunia advanced, Messi, bearing down on goal, dinked the ball over the keeper in a moment of sheer brilliance.
1. Vs. Real Madrid 2007
His first hat-trick and still his best, even according to Messi himself.
Per an interview with Ketty Calatayud of FCBarcelona.com, the Argentine noted:
The one I scored against Real Madrid when we drew 3-3 at Camp Nou was very special for me, for what it meant in the game and because for me it was my first hat trick and it kept us ahead in the league.
Even though at the end we didn’t win the league, at that moment it was important and also because it was against Real Madrid.
Each time Madrid threatened to run away with the game, Messi dragged them back into it, with his final equaliser coming in injury time.
The world watched as Messi really announced himself on the world stage with three superbly taken efforts.
Enjoy them again above.