Liga - Messi breaks record as Barca send message to City

La Liga, Camp Nou - Barcelona 6 (Adriano 2' Messi 36', 68', Sanchez 53', Pedro 56', Neymar 89') Rayo Vallecano 0

Messi surpassed Telmo Zarra’s record to become the player with the most goals for a single Spanish team, as Barca prepared to face Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Barca will go into the clash with City as Spanish league table-toppers, returning to the summit of the standings on goal difference following Atletico Madrid’s 3-0 win over Real Valladolid.

The reigning Liga champions took just two minutes to open the scoring, with Adriano cutting inside off the right wing to bend a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner of the Rayo net.

And Barca’s sheer dominance was rewarded when Messi doubled their lead, nonchalantly chipping the keeper to score his record breaking 336th career goal for the Camp Nou club.

Alex Sanchez made it 3-0 after 53 minutes before Pedro added his name to the scoresheet by finishing off a wonderful team goal, turning the ball home after good work by Cesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta.

Messi grabbed his 337th career goal for Barcelona, calmly side-footing into the net before Neymar completed the scoring with a rasping drive into the top corner from 25 yards.

KEY EVENTS

2’ – GOAL: Well that didn't take long. Adriano cuts inside off the right side and angles a left footed shot into the bottom corner of the Rayo net.

13’ – WOODWORK: Messi hits the post! Fabregas plays a lobbed ball over the top for the Barcelona number 10, who pivots and swivels to lose his marker before shooting at goal. But the ball clips the outside of the right hand post.

18’ – WOODWORK: And now Pedro hits the post! Iniesta puts the ball onto the toes of the forward, who takes a touch into the box and shots at goal, but it hits the inside of the left hand post and somehow spins away.

36’ – GOAL: There's the record breaking goal! Fabregas finds Messi with a great pass through on goal and the little man chips Ruben who is well of his line.

53’ – GOAL: It's just too easy. Messi picks out Alexis, who is in the right channel with so much time and space. The Chilean sets himself and finds the near post well.

56’ – GOAL: Wow! What a team goal. Fabregas is put through by a wonderful Iniesta back flick, and the former Arsenal man squares it for Pedro who finishes into the empty net.

63’ – RETURN: Neymar comes on for the first time in a month after recovering from injury and the Camp Nou gives him a standing ovation. He's become a fans' favourite in his first six months in Spanish football.

69’ – GOAL: And there's another goal! Messi strokes the ball home from the edge of the box after being teed up by Sanchez. Great finish by the little man.

88’ – GOAL: Oh my word! What a strike! Neymar breaks from midfield and rasps a drive from about 25 yards into the top corner of the Rayo net. Incredible from the Brazilian!

KEY STATS

In the two league games against Rayo Vallecano this season Barcelona have scored 10 goals while not conceding any (4-0, 6-0).

With 10 goals and eight assists Messi is now the player with the most goals and most assists in Europe’s top five leagues in 2014.

Messi is now just five goals away from Alcantara’s record 369 goals for Barcelona.

Surpassing Zarra Messi is now the player with the most goals ever (337) for a single Spanish team.

Messi has surpassed Di Stefano (227) and equals Raul as player with the third most goals (228) in Spanish league history.

TALKING POINT

Have Barcelona made a timely return to form? Since the turn of the year Barca have been toiling for form. While they may not have been dropping many points Martino’s side looked devoid of new ideas and struggling with the manager’s concepts. In the past couple weeks they have looked backed to their best, and with Man City coming up on Tuesday that return to greatness is a timely one.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Andres Iniesta (Barcelona): The midfielder was at the centre of every Barcelona move, demonstrating just how important he is to this team when he’s fit. Martino’s side are simply much more creative with him in the side, with Iniesta’s crowning moment coming in the form of his backheel flick in the build-up for Pedro’s goal.

PLAYER RATINGS

Barcelona: Valdes 6, Alves 7, Pique 5, Puyol 5, Adriano 7, Busquets 6, Fabregas 7, Iniesta 8, Sanchez 7, Pedro 6, Messi 8. Subs:Neymar 7, Mascherano 5, Tello 4.

Rayo Vallecano: Ruben 5, Arbilla 2, Ze Castro 7, Saul 6, Mojica 5, Trashorras 4, Baena 4, Yago 5, Bueno 5, Rochina 6, Larrivey 5. Subs:Tito 4, Viera 5, Longo 3.