As expected, Ajax were no match for Barcelona and, as expected, Lionel Messi was in a world all on his own. The Argentine was simply sensational, notching a hat trick in a 4-0 Barcelona romp at the Camp Nou that has the Spanish giants off to a perfect start in the Champions League.
Messi's hat trick gives him 62 career Champions League tallies, just nine behind Raul for the UEFA record. At the age of 26 and with several Champions Leagues ahead of him presumably, it is only a matter of time before he holds the record.
Ajax gave Barcelona a bit of a match for 20 minutes as they did well to keep the ball in the face of the home side's pressure, but they couldn't turn their possession into chances and it wasn't as if they were dominating possession either. They just almost played Barcelona to a draw in that part of the match so it seemed inevitable that the favorites would eventually win out, which they did.
Messi started the scoring in the 21st minute with a sublime free kick. After drawing a foul from 25 yards, Messi hit a perfect ball off the inside of the post and in to get his -- and Barcelona's -- day started.
Messi doubled his tally on the other side of the half when he got free on the counterattack, cut in on his left foot and fired home for the 2-0 lead. Gerard Pique got in on the action in the 69th minute when he met a gorgeous Neymar cross to head past Kenneth Vermeer, but it was still the Messi show. He proved it 15 minutes from time when he danced around the Ajax box before sliding home his third goal to cap a tremendous day for the world's best player.
Ajax did have a chance to at least avoid the clean sheet when Javier Mascherano chopped down Thulani Serero in the penalty box, but Kolbeinn Sigthorsson had his spot kick saved by Victor Valdes. It was that kind of day for Ajax, whose trip to Catalonia went exactly as it was supposed to -- as a showcase for Messi and Barcelona.