Barcelona destroyed Rayo Vallecano 6-0 on Saturday, to move back above Atletico Madrid on goal difference. Barca, and Lionel Messi in particular, are now moving back into top gear at just the right time of the season.
It was an abject performance from Valladolid, who find themselves above only the already doomed Real Betis. Adriano scored the opening goal of the first half after only two minutes. Messi scored the second half an hour later. A superb long pass from Cesc Fabregas found Messi in space, and he wasted no time in lobbing Vallecano keeper Martinez.
A two goal lead didn’t do justice to Barcelona’s superiority. They made amends in the second half. Alexis Sanchez was picked out by Messi in the 53rd minute to make it 3-0. Pedro added the fourth after 58 minutes, following superb build up play by Iniesta and Fabregas. Barca were passing the ball around brilliantly, but Vallecano looked like they wanted to be elsewhere. Worse was to come.
Messi scored his second on 68 minutes after Sanchez turned provider. With a minute to go it was 6-0. Second half substite Neymar, returning from injury, hit a firecracker of a strike with a minute to go.
There was so much to like about this perfomance, especially for Lionel Messi. His brace took him to joint fourth on the La Liga all time goalscorers list, level with Raul. Raul took 550 games to score 228 goals. Messi just 263. He has now overtaken Telmo Zarra as the leading scorer for a single club, and lies just behind Zarra’s phenomenal record of 251 goals in just 277 games. It’s surely only a matter of time.
It was scary viewing for Manuel Pellegrini and Manchester City. Their Champion’s League clash could prove to be an all-time classic.