Ernesto Valverde (L) and Lionel Messi (R)

Barcelona [UK], Dec 8 : Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde hailed striker Lionel Messi, saying that scoring a hat-trick was the perfect way to celebrate the Ballon d’Or award.

His remarks came after Barcelona’s 5-2 win over RCD Mallorca. Messi scored thrice and as a result, he went past Cristiano Ronaldo to record the most number of hat-tricks in La Liga.

Messi now has 35 hat-tricks in the tournament, while Ronaldo had 34. He registered the goals in the 17th, 41st and 83rd minute of the match.

The 32-year-old Messi had received his sixth Ballon d’Or on Monday and as a result, he surpassed Ronaldo to win the award maximum number of times.

“Unbelievable, it was a good way to celebrate the Ballon d’Or,” quoted Valverde as saying.

The Argentine striker also became the only player to score ten or more goals in each of the past 14 seasons in Europe’s top-five leagues.

Messi’s highest-scoring league season for Barcelona came in 2011-12 when he registered 50 goals in 37 games.

So far, the Argentine striker has managed to score 12 goals this season.

Barcelona is currently at the top of the table in La Liga with 34 points from 15 matches.

The side will next take on Real Sociedad in the La Liga on December 14.


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