Lionel Messi scored a stunning hat-trick to help Barcelona beat Real Betis 4-1 in their La Liga clash on Sunday night at the Benito Villamarin Stadium in Seville.

BBC reported that the victory sees Barcelona now move 10 points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid at the top of the league table with just 10 matches of the season remaining. Defeat for Betis has seen their hopes of qualifying for European competition next season suffer a big blow.

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The three goals by Messi

Messi's three goals drew plaudits from opposition fans and pundits alike. The first goal was a superb free-kick just outside the area that was curled into the top left corner of the net. The Argentine forward doubled his tally when he toe-poked home from inside the area after a pass from Luis Suarez. It was the third goal that was the finest of them all. Messi nonchalantly chipped Betis keeper Pau Lopez from just inside the left-hand side of the penalty area with the ball clipping in off the underside of the bar.

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Uruguayan Suarez grabbed a goal of his own during the game to add to Barcelona's score. Betis managed to grab a consolation goal through Loren Moron but the damage had already been done.

The greatest of all-time?

It is now 33 hat-tricks scored by Messi in La Liga. In the on-going debate about whether he or Cristiano Ronaldo are the greatest of all-time, it seems the argument may be a step closer to being settled. Barcelona's huge lead at the top of the table is set to deliver yet another Spanish league title for the 31-year old.

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The statistics by Messi continue to amaze this season. The Barcelona captain has now scored 29 goals in 26 league matches. That brings his total goal tally in the league for Barcelona to 412 goals in 444 games. It is perhaps most astonishing that the iconic star is showing no signs of slowing down.

Barcelona will now have to wait for their next competitive game due to the international break. The club returns to La Liga action on the 30th of March when they welcome mid-table side and local rivals Espanyol to the Nou Camp.

A victory there would put Ernesto Valverde's team a huge step closer to sealing a fourth La Liga title in five seasons.

An absorbing two-legged Champions League Quarter-Final encounter with Manchester United also awaits Barcelona in April with the first leg set to be played on the 10th of April away at Old Trafford, with the second leg on the 16th of April at Nou Camp.

The treble is also still on for the club with Messi and company set to play the Copa del Rey Final against Valencia on the 25th of May at the Benito Villamarin Stadium.

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