Ballon d’Or winner Messi scored for a ninth successive league game and then supplied Cesc Fabregas and Thiago Alcantara for the second and third goals.
Barcelona have 55 points from 19 games with 18 wins and a draw, breaking the previous mark for the halfway stage of the campaign which they set at 52 points in the 2010-11 season.
Rory McIlroy signs blockbuster deal
The world’s No 1 golfer Rory McIlroy confirmed here yesterday that he had signed a multi-year sponsorship deal with American sportswear giant Nike. No exact details of what the deal was worth were released at an announcement ceremony, but reports have estimated it could bring up to $250 million (190 million euros) over 10 years.