MADRID: Lionel Messi turned down a hat-trick as Barcelona bounced back from a 5-2 win over Getafe and remain in contention for the La Liga title.
Messi blasted home two goals and had a chance to complete a hat -trick in injury time at Camp Nou but handed a penalty to Antoine Griezmann, who perfected it for a comfortable victory at home.
“He’s the best in the world, his action never deteriorates. If he slows down his performance, you won’t notice.
“I hope he stays for the next few years,” Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman said of Messi’s performances.
After beating Athletic Bilbao to lift the Spanish King’s Cup trophy last weekend, Barca are now in the hunt for a double, just five points behind Atletico Madrid with one game in hand in La Liga.
Atletico beat Huesca 2-0 for their first straight win since January and Real Madrid are also still in contention after beating Cadiz yesterday.
Messi has now scored 33 goals in all competitions and 25 in league competition, one more than all the goals scored by the entire Getafe team.
Getafe are still unsafe with just four points separating them from the relegation line.