Review

Messi the Derby King

FC Barcelona trashed Espanyol at Camp Nou as Messi bagged three and Dembélé made his debut

Lionel Messi continued his superiority on the pitch Saturday evening, as he scored the first 3 goals against Espanyol in Derbi Barceloni. He thereby completed his 38th Barcelona hat-trick as well as his 20th goal against Espanyol, as he cemented his record as the all-time top scorer in the Catalan Derby.

The magical Argentinian now has five goals to his name in his first three La Liga games of the season, and thereby takes on the role as the top scorer of the Spanish league once again.

Gerard Pique scored the fourth goal of the game in the 87th minute, as he headed the ball into the net from a corner taken by Ivan Rakitic.

Ousmane Dembélé, Barca’s most expensive player ever, who joined from Dortmund for a fee that could rise to £135.5m, came on in the 68th minute as he replaced Deulofeu who played a good game, leaving the Espanyol defenders in trouble in many situations.

The 20-year-old Frenchman had a good 22-minute run out, and assisted Luis Suarez for his goal in the 90th minute.

Nelson Semedo, Barca’s new right-back also played a stunning game, and he looks like a perfect fit for Blaugrana and also linked up great with Dembélé when the Frenchman entered the pitch. Even Paulinho, who perhaps was unjustified criticized by media and fans when Barca bought him for €40m from Chinese club, Guangzhou Evergrande, made a good impression, as he replaced Sergio Busquets in the 73rd minute.

Plenty of positives for Valverde, as Barca now sits on top of La Liga with maximum points and a goal score of 9-0, while Real Madrid is placed sixth after a 1-1 home draw against Levante earlier on Saturday.

However, Barcelona will face their first real challenge of the season Tuesday, as Juventus visit Camp Nou in the Champions League opener. The Catalans will be hoping for payback, as Bianconeri knocked Barca out of the prestigious European tournament last season with 3-0 on aggregate.