Lionel Messi typically played down his latest hat-trick heroics after the 50th treble of his career helped Barcelona twice come from behind to beat Sevilla 4-2.
Barca moved 10 points clear at the top of LaLiga as Messi’s goalscoring love affair with Sevilla continued at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
The Argentina star has now scored more goals against Sevilla than any other team – 36 in 35 matches, including what is now three hat-tricks.
“I’m happy to contribute to the result here today and the three points, that’s the most important thing, that we’ve got our advantage still over our rivals,” Messi told Barca’s website.
Sevilla took the lead twice in the first half through Jesus Navas and Gabriel Mercado, either side of a Messi volley.
Messi equalised for the second time with a curler from the edge of the box and chipped home keeper Tomas Vaclik for number three before Luis Suarez wrapped up the scoring.
“It was really important to win here today because of what it means, because of the opponents, and because of how the league is,” added Messi.
“It was important to maintain the advantage we had over the teams chasing us and take on what’s coming.
“We are relaxed in that sense, we know we’ve got quality players, we know the goals will come, we know we can get back to playing our kind of football.
“I think we haven’t been at our best in the last few matches but we want to play good football, creating chances and scoring goals.
“We knew how difficult it was going to be here. Sevilla got themselves ahead, they’re a great team. We knew that could happen.
“We were prepared for a tough game. We had to overcome them and we had to turn the result around.”
Sevilla have won just one of their last nine matches but boss Pablo Machin told the club website: “We put in an amazing performance in the first half but then our momentum was stopped by forced changes.
“We had to change the system. They were on top in the second half.”