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Messi reaches 400th goal then scores again as Barca routs Granada 6-0

 

BARCELONA, Spain — Lionel Messi scored his 400th and 401st goals for club and country and Neymar hit a hat trick as Barcelona thrashed Granada 6-0 in the Spanish league on Saturday.

Defending champion Atletico Madrid routed Sevilla 4-0 in the return of coach Diego Simeone, and Cristiano Ronaldo also found the net for his sixth straight game in Real Madrid’s 2-0 win at Villarrea

Messi’s 358th goal for Barcelona (along with 42 for Argentina) came with Barcelona leading 3-0 when he headed in Dani Alves’ superb one-touch cross in the 56th minute.

He added No. 359 near the end to cap the lopsided win.

Neymar opened the scoring in the 25th before Messi continued his playmaking by participating in his fellow striker’s next two goals and assisting Ivan Rakitic.

The win gave Barcelona the provisional league lead. Valencia can match it on points with a win at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

Barcelona heads to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League on Tuesday with more than a finely tuned attack. Its defense hasn’t conceded a goal in seven games this season.

After an up-and-down season last year, Messi has returned in fine form from Argentina’s defeat in the World Cup final to Germany. The forward has scored or participated in 14 of Barcelona’s 18 goals in all competitions.

Already Barcelona’s all-time leading scorer, the 27-year-old Messi is closing in on two more milestones. He is three goals from equaling Athletic Bilbao’s Telmo Zarra as the Spanish league’s all-time leading scorer with 251. And he is four goals from matching Raul Gonzalez’s record of 71 in the Champions League.

“I don’t think that even counting the goals we scored during recess at school we would reach 400,” Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said. “Watching Leo press on defense and being so generous in attack is a pleasure.”

 

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