Magnificent Messi becomes top scorer in Catalan derby
Lionel Messi became the top scorer in the history of the Catalan derby with his strike in Barcelona's 4-1 win over Espanyol on Sunday.
The Argentina star took his tally against Barca's city rivals to 15 with a sublime finish following a deft Luis Suarez pass in the closing stages at Camp Nou.
Messi was the star of the show for the champions, producing two dazzling runs in the Espanyol half to force a goal each for Suarez and Jordi Alba in the space of a minute in the second half, after Suarez had put the home side ahead after 18 minutes.
The victory moves Barca back to within three points of LaLiga leaders Real Madrid, although they have played a game more, while Suarez and Messi are now joint-top of the goal charts with 12 each - two ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi's tally for 2016 now stands at 51 goals, making him the top scorer in all competitions for the calendar year of any player in Europe's top five leagues. He could yet add to that total in Barca's final game of the year against Hercules in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
15 - Lionel Messi has scored 15 goals against Espanyol in La Liga, more than any other player in the Catalonian derbies. Infallible. pic.twitter.com/B0YpPit5Cp-- OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 18, 2016
51 - Lionel Messi has scored 51 goals in 2016, more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues (all competitions). Gold. pic.twitter.com/OKkt6Z14ql-- OptaJose (@OptaJose) December 18, 2016