The Argentine legend joined the Bundesliga stars as top performers in Europe after a hat-trick of Primera Division assists. Lionel Messi set up both of Barcelona’s first-half goals in a thrilling opening period of their game against Real Betis, becoming just the second player to reach double figures in goals and assists in Europe’s top five leagues this season.
His third assist in the 3-2 victory saw him become just the second player, after RB Leipzig‘s Timo Werner, to have recorded a hat-trick and a trio of assists in a game this season.
Messi now has 14 goals and 11 assists for the Blaugrana this year, with the only other player in double figures in both categories being Borussia Dortmund phenom Jadon Sancho. The 19-year-old England international has 12 goals and 13 assists in the Bundesliga this season.
The Argentina international set up Frenkie de Jong with a pinpoint chipped pass over the Betis defence to equalise after Betis had taken the lead through a Sergio Canales penalty.
The Seville team took the lead again and seemed certain to go into the break 2-1 ahead before Messi’s free-kick set up a rare Sergio Busquets goal. He set up Barca’s third from another set-piece, with Clement Lenglet nodding in after 70 minutes from that delivery.
That proved to be the final and decisive goal, as the Catalans kept the pressure on Real Madrid at the top of the table.
Since bagging 10 goals and securing 14 assists in a Primera Division season for the first time in the 2007-08 season, the 32-year-old has only failed to tally double figures in both categories once, in the 2016-17 season.
He found the back of the net 37 times in the league that year, but fell one short in the assists tally, with nine.
Sancho was only eight years old when Messi first did the double but has an impressive record of his own.
The former Manchester City man is only in his second season as an automatic starter in Germany and has been prolific in both of them.
Last season the Wideman provided 17 goals for team-mates while tallying 12 of his own.
Messi was not the only man to set personal records in Sunday’s game.
Real Betis’s France international Nabil Fekir scored his team’s second goal with a rasping shot from just outside the area after a bad giveaway by Arturo Vidal.
In doing so the former Liverpool target became the first man to score in each of his first two La Liga games against Barcelona, according to Opta.