Lionel Messi celebrated a record-breaking 768th appearance for Barcelona with two goals as the Spanish giants thrashed Real Sociedad 6-1 in La Liga Sunday night.
The 33-year-old Argentine moved one game clear of former midfielder Xavi’s total as Barca closed the gap on leaders Atletico Madrid to four points.
Antoine Griezmann opened the scoring, Sergino Dest scored twice – the first American to do so in la Liga – and Ousmane Dembele also found the net with a dazzling run and finish as Ronald Koeman’s men turn on the style at Anoeta.
Ander Barrenetxea did manage to find a consolation goal for Sociedad at 5-0 down , but it was far too late for Imanol Alguacil’s side to stage a fightback at the Anoeta Stadium.
Messi did not disappoint on his history-making night, showing the same energy and enthusiasm he has done throughout his career for the Catalan club.
His first major act was to turn provider for American Dest to score his first goal for Barcelona. The threaded through-ball also took Messi’s assist tally up to eight for the 2020-21 season.
After testing Sociedad goalkeeper Alex Remiro twice in the first half, Messi finally grabbed a well-deserved reward during the second half by notching Barca’s fourth – lifting the ball over Remiro following a superb Sergio Busquets pass.
He got his brace on 89 minutes when the Argentine’s good link-up play with left-back Jordi Alba resulted in a neat near-post finish.
Earlier on Sunday, Diego Simeone’s men beat Alaves 1-0, thanks to Luis Suarez’s 500th career goal and a late Jan Oblak penalty save.