After Lionel Messi scored a wonderful third goal to complete his 51-trick career trick, Real Betis supporters made what only true fans can do when in the presence of real football genius. They stood, applauded Messi and joined Barcelona fans in chanting his name.
It was noteworthy that it was not Camp Nou, but the Benito Villamarín Stadium in Seville, crying out "Messi! Messi! Messi!" The Argentine said after Barcelona's 4-1 victory that he had never received a tribute from the opposing followers.
"No, I can't remember that happened before," he said after his 45th hat trick to Barcelona, the other six coming to his country. "I'm grateful we are always treated well when he plays here."
Barcelona's victory gave them an upcoming 10-point lead in La Liga after Atlético Madrid's lost in Athletic Bilbao on Saturday. Messi added another milestone to his list by overtaking Xavi Hernández with a club 477th victory.
"Leo's fight has been extraordinary," said Barcelona's manager, Movistar Partidazo. "He scored three goals and could have scored a fourth place. That is proof of the player he is. Despite the opposition being in the receiving end, we all enjoy this era of his, which is unmatched. It is important that they cheer him ; it's a recognition. "
Messi struck a free kick in the 17th minute. He added another goal right within half the time of a Luis Suárez pass, scoring a fantastic solo goal with a half-way round halfway through the second half.
Messi saved his best late after the replacement Loren Morón had pulled one back. In the 85th minute, Barcelona's first-class score took a single touch of his left start to fly the ball from the left side of the box over the goalkeeper Pau López. His shots grazed the underside of the bar before entering, and triggered the outbreak of praise from Betis fans.
"Almost every week [Messi] plays at such a fantastic level, "said Beti's coach, Quique Setién." He is able to decide games individually. "
Messi, who also hit the post just before the final whistle, has 39 goals in 38 appearances in all competitions this season and a potential treble in his sights. Barcelona has reached the final of the Copa del Rey and faces Manchester United in the quarterfinals of the Champions League next month.
Suárez seemed to make his lower right leg late in the match. Valverde said the shipment had a "sprain" with tests to determine the extent of the damage.