A four goal haul by Lionel Messi was more than enough to sink Espanyol as Barcelona took out their La Liga and Champions League frustrations on their local rivals. It didn't take too long for Messi to get going, and he did so in pretty spectacular fashion in the 12th minute. The little forward dusted himself off after Victor Sanchez fouled him thirty-plus yards from goal, then sent a wonderful curling free kick that flicked off the wall and ended up in the top corner.
Although Barcelona wouldn't score again until the second half, Espanyol weren't much of a threat save for a Joan Verdu free kick that flashed just wide, and the hosts were in complete control. They'd double their lead through a rather dubious penalty that Messi was more than happy to convert, waiting until Cristian Alvarez committed before rolling into the bottom corner for his 70th goal of the season.
More was to come from the Argentine. Ten minutes later, immediately after Vladimir Weiss had a shot cleared off the line, Messi struck again, displaying a phenomenal touch to latch onto an Adriano through ball and them slotting calmly past Alvarez to make it 3-0 - and notching his fourteenth hattrick of the season in the process. The fourth came in short order after Sergio Busquets was fouled in the box, and Messi converted again for his 72nd goal of the season.
Oh, and that meant Barcelona won 4-0. Shock!