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 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.