Lionel Messi On Receiving Standing Ovation From Opposition Fans

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick against Real Betis on Sunday

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick against Real Betis on Sunday

He said: "To be honest no, I don't remember the opposition fans giving me an ovation for a goal".

Eighth-placed Betis refused to buckle, though, and they caused more than a few problems for the Barca defence as they sought to level. "I was just lucky that they went in and that we got the three points". He completed his treble late on with an exquisite chip after Suarez and Loren Moron had exchanged goals.

Messi opened the scoring in the 18th minute with a brilliant 25-yard free-kick before linking up well with Luis Suarez to make it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time. We're fortunate to be living at a time when he's playing football.

Luis Suarez also scored against Real Betis on Sunday
Luis Suarez also scored against Real Betis on Sunday

The third Messi strike, which killed off any late hopes of a Betis comeback, drew an ovation from the home supporters which the Argentine global says he has never previously experienced. And the [Betis] supporters recognised that.

'It's significant that they cheer him, it's an acknowledgement'.

A win in the game - shown on free-to-air television in the United Kingdom by ITV 4 - would see Barca move ten points clear of second place Atletico Madrid, who were downed 2-0 by Athletic Club at San Mamés on Saturday.

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"It was important to take advantage of a really big opportunity after Atletico's result", said Messi forward, who moved on to 477 career wins in a Barca shirt, overtaking Xavi as the player to have recorded the most victories at the club.

Suarez looked to pick up where Messi left off at the start of the second half when he slammed an effort into the side-netting, but the Uruguayan appeared to be having an off night in front of goal and squandered another glorious chance on the hour mark when he rounded the keeper but could not squeeze the ball home from a tight angle. But we didn't suffer at all.

"The boss read the game very well, tactically it was ideal and we didn't suffer, just the opposite".

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Barca's win was tainted by a late injury to Suarez, however. In LaLiga, Barcelona is on the top with 19 wins, 6 draws and only 2 losses and 69 scored goals and only 26 conceded goals.

The Catalan club have confirmed he will undergo further tests on Monday to determine the severity of the injury, but he will not join up with Uruguay during the worldwide break this week.

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