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Three-goal Messi breaks Barcelona record

Lionel Messi overhauled César Rodríguez as FC Barcelona's all-time leading scorer with a hat-trick, taking his tally to 234 in all competitions, in a 5-3 home win against Granada CF.

Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring one of his three goals
Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring one of his three goals ©AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi broke César Rodríguez's club record of goals for FC Barcelona in style by scoring a hat-trick as the Azulgrana beat Granada CF 5-3 at home.

Beginning the night one behind César's 232-goal haul, Messi struck his first of the match after 17 minutes, volleying in, with the aid of the far post, a deflected cross from Isaac Cuenca. By that time Josep Guardiola's men were already leading thanks to a goal fashioned in part by Messi, who headed another Cuenca delivery down for Xavi Hernández to score.

Granada pulled one back when Diego Mainz (55) glanced in a free-kick, and then stunned the home fans by equalising through a Guillherme Siqueira penalty (62). That, though, merely paved the way for Messi to take centre stage once more.

The 24-year-old was found on 67 minutes by Daniel Alves' chip over the visitors' defence; two touches later, he was celebrating his record-breaking 233rd goal for the European champions.

Tello (82) extended the lead before Messi completed the 12th Liga treble of his career with his 20th goal in his last eight outings for club and country. Siqueira's second spot kick (89), preceded by Alves' dismissal for handball, was a mere footnote on a historic night at the Camp Nou.

Messi – who has taken 314 appearances to eclipse César's tally, which dates back to the early 1950s – has now matched his best total of Liga goals for a season, 34, set in 2009/10.

Earlier, CA Osasuna spurned the chance to move into fourth place when they drew 0-0 at home with Getafe CF. Real Madrid CF, meanwhile, will restore their eight-point lead over Barcelona if they defeat struggling Villarreal CF in one of five Liga games on Wednesday.

In the one Premier League fixture, Blackburn Rovers FC moved six points clear of the relegation zone courtesy of a 2-0 home win against Sunderland AFC.