Lionel Messi scored twice to help Barcelona extend their lead at the top of the La Liga table to nine points following Sunday night's 4-1 victory over second-placed Atletico Madrid at Camp Nou.

Radamel Falcao put the visitors ahead with a stunning solo goal just after the half hour mark, after Diego Costa stole the ball in the middle of the park, playing in the Colombian hit-man, who delicately chipped over Victor Valdes.

Barca hit back almost immediately, though, with an equally exquisite strike from full-back Adriano on 36 minutes. Cutting in from the right-flank the Brazilian unleashed a thunderous shot in off the underside of the crossbar.

Sergio Busquets completed the turnaround with a close-range tap-in moments before the break, and Messi added his 15th brace of the 2012/13 campaign with two second-half goals to ensure all three points went to Tito Vilanova's side.

His first was a fine left-footed shot placed in the corner past helpless goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and his second - Messi's 90th of the calendar year - came after Atletico's defence dithered, leaving the Argentinian to poach the ball and fire home with 88 minutes on the clock.

Speaking after the game, Los Rojiblancos boss Diego Simeone praised his players for their efforts, but admitted that Barcelona deserved the win, and are far superior to any other team in the Spanish league.

"Barça play in a different league to the rest of us," he said. "We tried to be competitive, played to our strengths, and we did well for a large part of the game, but this is a boring league.

"With their firepower it is impossible. Messi is the best in the world. I am just pleased he is Argentine."

Watch full highlights of last night's match in the VIDEO above, and leave a comment with your thoughts on the game below…

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