Leo Messi is on course to absolutely smash an amazing La Liga record

Barcelona v Eibar - La Liga

Barcelona forward Leo Messi has begun the 2017/18 campaign in unbelievable form.

Many experts believed the Catalan giants would be in decline following the €222m sale of Neymar but the 30-year-old Argentine wizard has somehow stepped up a gear.

Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic yesterday told the BBC World Service of his dismay at Neymar's record breaking departure to PSG.

"For me personally, it was really hard," admitted Rakitic. "Not only because he's one of the biggest players; also, for me, he's a big person.

"He was really important for our dressing room, and for me he's one of the best guys I know in football. So for me it was really a bad decision because I liked to have him in my team.

"We have to respect Neymar's decision to move. If a team can buy him and he decides to leave Barcelona, we have to respect it and wish him the best [of] luck.

"Hopefully he can score a lot of goals and be happy in Paris, but we have to go on our way and be strong together without Neymar now."

FC Barcelona v Athletic Club - La Liga

Barcelona have won each of their five opening La Liga fixtures in Neymar's absence and Messi has already scored nine league goals.

He netted four in the 6-1 win over Eibar on Tuesday night.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid were beaten 1-0 at home by Real Betis and Zidane's all-conquering 'Los Blancos' currently lie 8th in the table following a very disappointing start to the season.

Real Madrid v Real Betis - La Liga

Cristiano Ronaldo looked very rusty on his return against Betis following a five-game suspension, failing to find the net with 12 attempts.

Messi on course to smash a record

Telmo Zarra's 38-goal La Liga haul in 1950-51 was the record number of goals scored in a season all the way until Messi and Ronaldo's emergence.

FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala 2015

Hugo Sanchez equalled the record in the 1989-90 season but it was finally beaten by the Portuguese Real Madrid forward in 2011.

Ronaldo scored 40 and Messi responded with an incredible tally of 50 La Liga goals in the 2011-12 season.

That unbelievable season may never be eclipsed but his current goalscoring rate of 1.8 goals per game would take him far above 50 goals.

Barcelona v Eibar - La Liga

Although highly unlikely, Messi would finish with 68 goals if he were to continue at his current rate.

He's proven that he's superhuman during his time in Barcelona - surpassing his 50 goal tally would be one of his greatest individual achievements.

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