BARCELONA, Spain — Lionel Messi set another scoring record by netting a hat trick to pace Barcelona’s 7-0 rout of Osasuna in the Spanish league Sunday, ensuring the defending champions stayed in striking distance of leader Real Madrid before their critical “clasico” match next Sunday.
The three goals bring Messi’s career tally for Barcelona to 371 in all games — including friendlies — breaking the club record of 369 held by Paulino Alcantara since 1927. Messi, 26, already was the club’s all-time leading scorer in official games.
Messi assured Barcelona’s fans they will enjoy his goals for years to come, saying “as long as people want me, I will stay here. My intention is to retire wearing the Barcelona shirt.”
The Argentina forward netted from close range to open the scoring at Camp Nou in the 18th minute. Alexis Sanchez made it 2-0 four minutes later before Andres Iniesta scored just his second goal of the season in the 34th.
Messi struck twice more in the second half, either side of Cristian Tello’s goal, to give him a team-leading 18 league goals this campaign, before he set up Pedro Rodriguez.
It was Messi’s 20th career hat trick for Barcelona, to go with four four-goal games and one five-goal outing.
Barcelona remained in third place, four points behind Madrid, ahead of their meeting in the Spanish capital next week.
The Argentinian becomes the all-time highest goalscorer for FC Barcelona with 370 goals! http://t.co/6PRU7KNC0z—
FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) March 16, 2014