Messi opened the scoring in the 24th minute after a stunning solo run and then laid on a pass for Neymar to double the lead in the 40th with an irresistible chip.
Lionel Messi’s game by numbers vs. Celta Vigo:
100% take-ons completed
4 chances created
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 4, 2017
Luis Enrique had once again opted for a back three without the ball, with Sergi Roberto dropping in at right-back when they lost it. Given it’s a formation Barça have now played for the last few matches, they looked much more comfortable here.
Ivan Rakitic and Samuel Umtiti added to the scoring in the second half, the latter netting for the first time for the club, as Barcelona produced one of their best performances of the season in their first game since Luis Enrique revealed he would not be continuing as coach after the summer.
Messi then capped his virtuoso display with a darting run forward into the box past two defenders and a classy low finish, scoring an eighth goal in six league games and rounding off a rampant Barça display reminiscent of their 6-1 thrashing of Celta last year.
There’s a train of thought that Luis Enrique’s announcement on Wednesday – that he will leave the club in the summer – could free the shackles from the Barcelona players. On the evidence of this performance, there might be legs to that theory.
It was as good as the Blaugrana have played in a long time and they could have been ahead long before Messi’s solo effort. Both Suarez and Messi had hit the post in the same move as Celta struggled to stop their free flowing hosts.
Lionel Messi this season:
– Games: 40 👊
– Goals: 40 ⚽️
– Assists: 19 🎯
Most goals this season.
The greatest for a reason 😎🔥 pic.twitter.com/5UY7qxOejV
— Leo Messi (@messi10stats) March 5, 2017
By the end of the game the words “Yes we can” echoed round the cavernous Nou Camp stadium as Barcelona’s fans began to dare to believe they could replicate this stunning display against Paris St Germain in the Champions League on Wednesday, when they need to overturn a four-goal deficit from the last 16 first leg, something no team has done in the competition’s history.
“It was a very complete performance, everyone was enjoying themselves. Everyone shone, everyone played at the top of their game and when that happens you’re able to score five goals and maybe we could have got more,” Luis Enrique told reporters.
“The PSG game will be nothing like today’s as the teams are so different but confidence is everything. It looks like a lost cause but if we do things well who knows what could happen? We’re going to keep trying until the last minute.”
Barcelona top the La Liga standings on 60 points, one ahead of Real, while third-placed Sevilla, on 55, visit Alaves on Monday.