FC Barcelona vs Athletic Bilbao : Full highlights
It’s always worth watching when these two sides encounter each other, although this one was rather devoid of suspense by Iraizoz’s early sending off, which eventually led to Messi’s opener from the spot. Messi was replaced at half-time by Turan but Suárez and Neymar never loosened their grip, the former grabbing a fabulous hat-trick, the latter scoring one, but setting up a couple and generally being quite outstanding.
Lionel Messi, who presented the fifth Fifa Ballon d’Or he won back last week to his fans before kick-off at the Nou Camp, hit from the spot to set Barcelona on their way to a thumping 6-0 victory against the 10-man Bilbao, with La Liga’s top scorer, Luis Suárez, scoring a fabulous hat-trick.
Bilbao conceded the early penalty as their goalkeeper, Gorka Iraizoz, felled Suárez unethically and was shown a straight red card, following which Barça put the Basque club right to the sword.
The Spanish and European champions, who still have a game in hand over their main rivals, are now two points behind Atlético in second, with Real Madrid a further two points adrift in third.
Bilbao never really looked like formidable Barça once they were a man down and Neymar then made it 2-0 when he lifted the ball past the substitute keeper, Iago Herrerín.
Suárez struck just two minutes into the second half after exchanging a string of passes with Neymar and the Brazil forward then set up Ivan Rakitic to take it to 4-0 in the 62nd minute.
Suárez got his second goal seven minutes later from Arda Turan’s brilliant pass and completed his treble now to finally move clear at the top of the scoring chart on 18 goals, two more than that of Ronaldo and Benzema.
“The sending off changed things completely and we were able to take advantage during the rest of the game,” Suárez, clutching one of the match balls, told Spanish television.
“I’m going to put this in the museum once I get it signed by my team-mates,” further added the Uruguay striker.