Messi’s goals were both laid on by Andres Iniesta who also hit the target himself before supplying Cesc Fabregas for the fourth. The Argentine’s brace means he now has 82 goals in 2012, just three short of German legend Gerd Mueller’s all-time calendar record of 85 set in 1972.
He also tops the La Liga charts for the season with 19 goals. Atletico had earlier beaten Sevilla 4-0 to keep pace at the top and go eight points ahead of city rivals Real Madrid in third who had lost 1-0 at Betis on Saturday.
Barca’s win increased their gap over Real Madrid to 11 points. They have also equalled Real’s record for the best start to a La Liga season set in