Lionel Messi's free-kick conversion rate in La Liga better than Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho's

Real Betis Balompie v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Gerard Pique was in awe of Lionel Messi after the Argentinian scored the 51st hat-trick of his career against Real Betis.

"What we have seen up until now shows there's no one like Messi," Pique told reporters following Barcelona’s 4-1 win at the Benito Villamarin, per Sport.

“What he does is unique.”

Messi opened the scoring with a superb free-kick in the 18th minute and added a second just before half-time when he finished off Luis Suarez’s incredible pass.

His hat-trick goal was truly special, a perfect chip over Pau Lopez that even got the Betis supporters off their feet in appreciation.

The fifth-best player in the world? Yeah, right.

There is simply nobody playing at a higher level than Messi right now.

Real Betis Balompie v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Messi's free-kick conversion rate is better than Ronaldo's

The free-kick that set Barcelona on their way to victory highlighted the 31-year-old’s pinpoint accuracy - he aimed for the corner that Lopez was closest to and yet still managed to beat the Betis ‘keeper.

Messi’s ability from set-pieces is often overlooked but he actually has a better free-kick conversion rate in La Liga than Cristiano Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and Ronaldinho.

Lionel Messi: 28 free-kick goals from 330 attempts (8.5%)

Ronaldinho: 15 free-kick goals from 205 attempts (7.3%)

Cristiano Ronaldo: 19 free-kick goals from 310 attempts (6.1%)

Roberto Carlos: 16 free-kick goals from 382 attempts (4.2%)

Stats courtesy of Spanish sports commentator Alexis Martin-Tamayo.

He really is the complete player.

Real Betis Balompie v FC Barcelona - La Liga

Messi has now scored 39 goals in all competitions this season and he is on the verge of helping Barcelona to another successful campaign.

The Blaugrana have a 10 point lead at the top of the Spanish top flight while a meeting against Valencia in the Copa del Rey final awaits on May 5.

The trophy that they really want, though, is the Champions League.

Barcelona haven’t won the competition since 2015 but with Messi playing at such a high level, they stand a great chance of becoming champions of Europe again.

They will play Manchester United in the quarter-final.

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