Messi came in for midfielder Xavi Hernandez around the hour mark, when his side were still a goal down following a goal by Markel Susaeta.
The talismanic No. 10 was, however, quick to add his name to the score sheet, as he produced an outstanding solo effort on 67 minutes that resulted into a superb goal.
This marked his 24th goal of this La Liga campaign, breaking the record of 23 goals set by Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo last season.
Messi is also currently enjoying a comfortable lead at the top of the goalscorers standings in La Liga, occupying the top position with 44 goals – 13 goals above his rival Ronaldo, who was rested at the weekend while Real faced city rivals Atletico Madrid.
Commenting on the four-time Ballon d’Or winner’s recovery process and performance against Bilbao, Barcelona assistant manager Jordi Roura said during the post-match press conference: “Messi is [physically] well. He is recovering as planned and he played a good match today.”
Messi assisted Alexis Sanchez’s goal on 69 minutes, and despite Barcelona settling for a dramatic 2-2 draw at the end of the day at the Estadio San Mames, the Argentina international ended up being the outstanding player of the match.
Messi and his team-mates will now be facing an incredibly tough task in mid-week at the Camp Nou, when they host German titans Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League semi-finals matchup.
The Catalans were stunned 4-0 at the Allianz Arena last week, but they have vowed to fight back with all their might on Wednesday to overturn the deficit and qualify for the Wembley final.
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