No One Believes in Barcelona Anymore, But That Doesn't Bother Lionel Messi

Posted September 10, 2017

So fond are Espanyol of their former striker that he has a gate named after him at their stadium but on Saturday they will be hoping to take advantage of institutional instability at Barcelona to end their torrid run at the Nou Camp.

Today, in a 5-0 win over Espanyol, was the first time Los Cules looked like a title team, even if most of it was Lionel Messi taking his ability and execution up a notch, finishing with an effortless hat trick.

Barca managed to rbag a fouth goal in the 87th minute as Gerard Pique found the back of the net with a thumping header.

Valencia and Atletico Madrid drew 0-0 in a game where the tactics of Diego Simeone and Marcelino Garcia produced a spectacle that was probably enjoyed more by both coaches than neutrals.

Lionel Messi. While the Argentina number 10 was at least a yard offside when collecting a pass from Ivan Rakitic to open the scoring, he remained at the heart of everything Barcelona produced going forwards.

Messi added a second after he burst forward and his pass rebounded to Jordi Alba.

"Semedo is a strong, fast player who plays well in attack and defensively he will help us a lot", he continued. The Camp Nou faithfuls were given the first look of the 20-year-old.

Barca is now four points clear of Real Madrid - after Zinedine Zidane's side drew with Levante earlier.

As expected, it was Barcelona that took control of the early possession, but aside from a Messi effort, which flew harmlessly over the crossbar, Espanyol restricted the hosts to very little inside the opening 15 minutes. "We have to learn from our errors and move on", said Real goalscorer Vazquez.

Levante goalkeeper Fernandez was in impressive form and his best save came from a low-struck effort from Marcelo, who in frustration rolled to the floor, kicking Levante's Jefferson Lerma and earning a straight red card in the 89th minute.

Toni Kroos hit the post for Madrid in injury time, but to concede a late goal would have been harsh on Levante for a courageous and well-drilled display.