Suarez suffers badly sprained ankle - Valverde

Lionel Messi
Barcelona’s Lionel Messi celebrates scoring their fourth goal to complete his hat-trick REUTERS

19 March, 2019

The latest time he was so breathtakingly brilliant that the opposing fans had to stand and applaud was this weekend, when he had a hat trick in a 4-1 Barcelona win over Real Betis.

"No, I can not remember that happening before".

The hat-trick saw Messi score his 27th, 28th and 29th goals for Barca this season to take his haul of combined assists and goals to a stunning 60 in total. He added a second goal just before halftime from a pass by Luis Suarez, who scored a fine goal of his own midway through the second half. The Spanish league leaders took full advantage of closest challengers Atletico Madrid slipping up 2-0 to Athletic Bilbao.

"We're always treated very well when we come to this stadium". "Worse things have happened".

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Messi's first goal was the product of a foul by Andres Guardado on Arthur that gifted Argentina forward a free kick ideal for his preferred left foot _ just slightly outside the semi-circle atop the area.

Coach Ernesto Valverde has given the non-internationals the week off but is holding voluntary training sessions on Monday and Tuesday.

He was asked if he had ever scored such a nice goal and he responded, "I don't know, I was lucky that both of them went in but above all we got the three points". The Uruguay global forward, who scored a stunning solo goal, was forced off late on with an ankle sprain.

Barcelona have confirmed a 10-15 day absence for the 32-year-old, ruling him out of Uruguay's forthcoming participation in the China Cup friendly tournament.

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