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Five of Lionel Messi's most memorable hat-tricks for Barcelona and Argentina

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Lionel Messi scored his 51st career hat-trick against Real Betis on Sunday night. 

The 31-year-old starred in Barcelona's 4-1 away win and his treble ensured the La Liga leaders are three more points closer to another title. 

Messi now has scored 33 league hat-tricks and is one behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who holds the record with 34. 

Now that the Portuguese forward has moved to Juventus, Barca's number 10 is expected to overtake his rival in the near future.

Scoring a total of 51 hat-tricks for both club and country is a phenomenal achievement and over the years, he's scored some remarkable goals.  

So, here's a list of Messi's top five hat-tricks and yes, his treble against Betis features.

5) Levante 0-5 Barcelona (2018)

We can probably pin this hat-trick on Pele and Luka Modric. 

Ten days before the fixture, the Brazil legend claimed that Messi only had 'one foot' and wasn't quite at his level.

FC Barcelona v Levante - Copa del Rey Round of 16

A few days later, Modric won the Ballon d'Or at a ceremony where the Argentine was voted just the fifth best player in the world.    

Cue a dazzling Messi performance. He set up the first goal against Levante before going on to score three of his own.

The first of which, was finished brilliantly with what Pele believes is his 'weaker' right foot. Two more followed in the second half as Barca ran out 5-0 winners.  

FBL-ESP-LIGA-LEVANTE-BARCELONA

4) Barcelona 4-0 Ajax (2013)

Messi doesn't just run riot in La Liga - he also scores for fun in the Champions League too. Back in 2013, he put three past Ajax just 24 hours after Ronaldo scored a European hat-trick of his own. 

The Argentine's first came from a trademark free-kick before he scored twice from open play on a special night under the lights at the Nou Camp. 

3) Ecuador 1-3 Argentina (2017)

The most important hat-trick Messi has ever scored may have come in Argentina's World Cup qualifier against rivals Ecuador.

FBL-WC-2018-ECU-ARG

His country were in danger of failing to make the finals for the first time since 1970 and needed to win to qualify for the tournament in Russia. But fell behind in the first minute.

Messi then took the game into his own hands and single-handedly hauled Argentina to the World Cup with three goals.

The first was a pretty simple tap-in and that was followed shortly after by a left-footed effort that the forward smashed into the roof of the net.

Messi completed his treble by clipping the ball over the keepers head from 20-yards out - all while falling off balance.

Argentina's road to Russia was rocky, but thanks to their star man, the South American's made it there safely.

2) Real Betis 1-4 Barcelona (2019)

Messi's latest hat-trick was one of the best of his career to date. He curled in his first of the evening from another free-kick and his second came after a brilliant backheel assist from Luis Suarez.

But the third was the pick of the bunch.

The ball was rolled to him on the edge of the box and rather than whipping in a cross, which would have been much easier, Messi chipped a long-range effort over the goalkeepers head. Magical. 

1) Barcelona 3-3 Real Madrid (2007)

Messi has scored some memorable hat-tricks over the years, but the first he ever scored may well be his best. 

At the age of just 19, the little Argentine sent shockwaves through the football world with three goals against Real Madrid in El Clasico. 

Sharing a pitch with the likes of Ronaldinho and Raul in front of 98,000 fans didn't intimidate the teenager, who's hat-trick salvaged a draw in the biggest game of Barca's domestic season. 

Messi announced himself to the world that day, scoring three classic goals while leaving the likes of Sergio Ramos and Ivan Helguera in his wake. 

50 hat-tricks have followed since that haul against Madrid and at 31-years-old, Messi may well score a few more classic trebles before he hangs up his boots for good. 

Topics:
Football
Argentina Football
Barcelona
Lionel Messi
Cristiano Ronaldo

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