Lionel Messi nets hat-trick in Barcelona win

Thomas Vermaelen faces another spell on the sidelines

Thomas Vermaelen faces another spell on the sidelines

Lionel Messi is the "best" following his hat-trick in Barcelona's rout of Levante, according to director Guillermo Amor.

Messi produced a masterclass performance Sunday night, netting a hat-trick and assisting two goals as Barcelona ran riot, humiliating 10-man Levante 5-0 in LaLiga.

After only featuring off the bench midweek in Barca's 1-1 Champions League draw against Tottenham, the Argentine was back with a vengeance at the weekend in La Liga, scoring a hat-trick in just 17 minutes and adding two assists in a near-perfect display.

Barcelona stayed three points ahead of second-placed Sevilla, which beat Girona 2-0 earlier Sunday, and third-placed Atletico Madrid.

The second half started off with a MESSI goal, a first touch finish made wit 3-0 just two minutes into the half.

Messi effectively killed the match before the hour mark, first sweeping into the bottom-right corner after Suarez and Jordi Alba led a counter-attack and then tapping in a first-time cross from Arturo Vidal. The goal stemmed from Enis Bardhi conceding possession in a risky position, and Messi's excellent cross was volleyed into the back of the net by Luis Suarez for 1-0. Ruben Rochina passed straight to Sergio Busquets, he sent Messi through on goal and the Argentine star slotted the ball beneath Oier Olazabal.

Already trailing 4-0, Levante lost Erick Cabaco in the 76th minute with a direct red card for cutting down Ousmane Dembele.

Luis Suarez was the first beneficiary of his teammate's talents, volleying home in the first half to open the scoring after Messi danced through the Levante defence and delivered an inch-perfect cross on the penalty spot.

Mayoral had the ball in the back of the net for Levante in stoppage time, but the offside flag came to Barcelona's rescue as the Spanish champions posted another clean sheet.

Catching the "Christmas Comet"
Angela Ponce makes history as 1st transgender Miss Universe contestant