<
>

Lionel Messi's hat trick lifts Barcelona to Catalan derby rout of Espanyol

play
Messi scores hat trick in Barcelona rout (0:46)

Lionel Messi scored his first hat trick in 11 months as Barcelona easily saw off Catalan rivals Espanyol. (0:46)

Lionel Messi scored the 38th hat trick of his Barcelona career as Ernesto Valverde's side thrashed Espanyol 5-0 in Saturday's Catalan derby at the Camp Nou.

Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez were also on target as Barca maintained their perfect start to the season, moving four points ahead of Real Madrid, who were held by Levante earlier in the day.

Positives

While Barca scored five, they will also be keen to point out they are yet to concede a goal in La Liga this season: three games, three clean sheets.

On an evening of positives, Ivan Rakitic's performance is also worth a mention, as is the fact Ousmane Dembele, the club's record signing, made his debut. The French international even had time to create Suarez's goal in stoppage time with a fine first-time cross.

Negatives

Luis Suarez eventually got on the score sheet, but until then he had been wasteful. It's not just the fact that he had failed to score before Saturday's late effort -- he missed the first two league games of the season through injury -- it's that he has not quite looked himself. Barca will hope his goal will be a turning point.

Manager rating out of 10

8 -- Ernesto Valverde has kept a cool head despite all the drama at Barcelona this summer and has managed to lead the Catalan club to three league wins in a row. He was right to stick with Gerard Deulofeu over the newly signed Dembele and is also getting the best out of Messi.

Player ratings (1-10, with 10 the best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Marc-Andre ter Stegen, 6 -- It's not that Espanyol didn't have their chances, but the German goalkeeper didn't have any notable saves to make, bar one from a long-range Didac Vila strike. Pablo Piatti had the visitor's best opportunities, hitting the post in the first half and later lobbing wide.

DF Nelson Semedo, 7 -- Uses his speed to cover well and is a threat going forward. Once again, showed plenty of reasons for Barca to believe they've found a solution to their right-back problems.

DF Gerard Pique, 6 -- An assured, if relatively untested, performance from Pique, who scored Barca's fourth goal with a towering header from a Rakitic corner.

DF Samuel Umtiti, 6 -- Produced a fine block in the second half to stop a certain Leo Baptistao goal. That moment came at 2-0 and could have changed the game.

DF Jordi Alba, 8 -- Rejuvenated under Valverde and clearly enjoying his football. Created two of Messi's three goals and was a constant menace on the left, where there was plenty of space for him to attack.

MF Sergio Busquets, 7 -- Another good performance after two fine displays for Spain during the international break. Took risks on the ball at times but always seemed in control, setting up attack after attack from a deep position.

MF Ivan Rakitic, 8 -- The Croatian has his doubters, but he was fantastic here. Set up Messi's first goal (and Pique's), almost scored a brilliant goal of his own and drove forward from midfield time and again.

MF Andres Iniesta, 6 -- Others took the headlines here, but Barca will be quietly happy with the fact their captain has started three games in the past week and looks to be finding his form again. Still has an important role to play despite the nagging doubts over his contract situation.

FW Gerard Deulofeu, 7 -- Having started the season well, Valverde stuck with Deulofeu despite the arrival of Dembele. And the Barca coach will feel justified, with the winger producing a decent display in causing problems with his pace, taking players on and creating chances.

FW Lionel Messi, 9 -- With Neymar gone, Suarez off form and Dembele still adapting, there's as much emphasis on Messi at Barcelona as there has been in many years. Luckily for them, he's able to deliver. His first goal was offside, but he was good value for his hat trick overall. He now has five goals in three league games this season.

FW Luis Suarez, 5 -- Made a rapid recovery from a knee injury to feature for Uruguay last week and started his first league game for Barcelona this season here. Eventually got on the score sheet but missed chances before then and gave the ball away more than Valverde will have liked.

Substitutes

FW Ousmane Dembele, 7 -- Handed his Barca debut with just over 20 minutes to play and showed a glimpse of what his new supporters can expect with a great pass for Suarez's goal.

MF Paulinho, NR -- Came on to make his home debut in the final 20 minutes, allowing Busquets to have a breather ahead of Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.

MF Andre Gomes, NR -- After a move to Tottenham failed to materialise on deadline day, Valverde showed Gomes he could still have a future at Camp Nou by giving him the last few minutes against Espanyol.