Messi applauded by Betis fans after hat trick - 'I'm really grateful'

Lionel Messi

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The Betis fans left at the Benito Villamarin, and majority were, felt compelled to stand and applaud.

It may end up as simply another superb performance by Messi, among so many in his trophy-laden career. He completed his treble late on with an exquisite chip after Suarez and Loren Moron had exchanged goals. In the 85th, Barcelona's all-time leading scorer used one touch of his left boot to float the ball from the left side of the box over goalkeeper Pau Lopez.

Barcelona great Messi has been stealing the headlines in Spain this season.

"It depends on us and staying aware that nothing is decided yet", Messi said. "We have to keep playing like we have been without giving anything away".

Messi's first goal was the product of a foul by Andres Guardado on Arthur that gifted Argentina forward a free kick flawless for his preferred left foot _ just slightly outside the semi-circle atop the area.

The Barcelona star curled in a free-kick, finding the top corner with a devilish left-footed strike.

The forward should have scored himself in the first half, with Messi teeing him up nicely, but his left-foot shot was weak and Lopez denied him. It mattered little, however, as the Uruguayan immediately made amends by scoring a magnificent individual effort.

The only blot was the sight of Suarez limping off late on, with what coach Ernesto Valverde suspected was a "bad sprain" to his ankle. The Uruguay global forward, who scored a stunning solo goal, was forced off late on with an ankle sprain.

Messi said his team were extra eager to beat Betis after Atletico's defeat in Bilbao whilst adding that the title race was not yet over.

The Catalan club have confirmed he will undergo further tests on Monday to determine the severity of the injury, but he will not join up with Uruguay during the worldwide break this week. "He is able to singlehandedly decide games".

Messi, on 29 league goals, continued to run the show in the second half and the Betis fans were able to appreciate another remarkable display from the best player in the history of the sport.

Getafe defended well to take a 0-0 draw at Valencia, keeping its hold on fourth place.

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