La Liga: Messi Milestone as Barca Maintain Lead

Lionel Messi scored his 400th La Liga goal on Sunday as Barcelona beat Eibar 3-0 to reclaim their five-point cushion at the top of the table.

Messi drove the ball into the bottom corner after being teed up by Luis Suarez, who added two goals to his own tally either side of the Argentinian marking another historic record at the Camp Nou.

“It’s monstrous,” said Valverde, after the 3-0 victory. “It’s easy to say but you have to score them one after the other, it’s a long-term job.

“His numbers are stratospheric, incredible. He is from another galaxy.”

Victory saw Valverde’s side restore their advantage over Atletico Madrid, who had briefly cut the gap to two points after beating Levante earlier in the day following an penalty from the in-form Antoine Griezmann.

Real Madrid returned to winning ways later on Sunday, beating Real Betis 2-1 to ensure Spain’s big three all prevailed in the same round for only the fourth time this season.

Los Blancos however remain 10 points adrift of champions Barcelona.

Messi was uncharacteristically quiet on the night, paving the way for Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho, who twice exchanged with Suarez before the Uruguayan, off balance, found the far corner.

Messi’s moment came in the 53rd minute and it was Suarez who started it, stealing back possession after a heavy touch from Anaitz Arbilla. He bounced it off Coutinho and found Messi, who touched and arrowed in.

The third goal was straightforward as Sergi Roberto took a quick throw and freed the scuttling Suarez, who applied a cool finish from a tight angle.

In the late kickoff, Luka Modric sent a thunderous shot into the top corner to give real the lead, but Betis were in the ascendancy after Sergio Canales poked in a second-half equaliser.

But substitute Dani Ceballos sent a dipping free-kick into bottom corner to snatch a dramatic win in the dying minutes.

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