Barcelona looked to continue their rich vein of form on Wednesday night as they travelled to Gijon to take on Sporting.
Luis Enrique's side could extend their lead at the top of La Liga to six points, while the home side were keen to put further distance between themselves and the relegation places.
But their lead didn't last long, with Carlos Castro sliding home one minute later to interrupt Messi's party.
Not that it would hold the Argentine back - firing home a Luis Suarez assist shortly after to restore Barcelona's advantage.
Messi went close again before Neymar clipped the woodwork with a brilliant chip.
Barcelona had the chance to extend the lead on the hour when Neymar won a penalty, but Luis Suarez failed to convert from the spot.
But the Uruguayan made amends five minutes later when he turned away from his defender and curled home a brilliant finish.
That would end the scoring, with Barcelona recording a 3-1 win which doubles their lead at the top of the table. But the game was about one man...