FC Barcelona warmed up for El Clásico next week with a 7-0 demolishing of Osasuna at the Camp Nou on Sunday night.
Lionel Messi got the scoring started in the 18th minute. Alexis Sanchez made it 2-0 just four minutes later as a great cross by Jordi Alba found the Chilean's feet to double the lead. Andres Iniesta made it 3-0 as he unleashed a golazo from outside the box in the 34th minute. Messi made history in the 63rd minute as surpassed Paulinho Alcantara (369 goals) as the all-time goal scorer in FC Barcelona history. Cristian Tello grabbed the fifth goal on the night in the 78th minute. Messi got his hat trick in the 88th minute to make it 6-0. Finally, Pedro got a goal in stoppage time to make the final score 7-0.
Let's get to the Best, the Worst, and What We Learned from this game.
The Best: Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta
Andres Iniesta, as usual, had a great game. There may be some that take Don Andres' magic for granted because he's seemingly-always on point, but not I nor true Culés ever take Iniesta and his magic for granted. We know that Iniesta's magic always mesmerizes us with every game he plays, and it's to be cherished. What a great golazo by Andres. Iniesta pointed to the heavens after the goal as he dedicated the goal to the unborn son the Iniesta family lost last week as Andres' wife had a miscarriage. Our thoughts are with the Iniesta family.
Lionel Messi was superb on the night. Correction: Messi was historic on the night.
With his first goal, Messi tied Barcelona legend Paulinho Alcantara with 369 goals in a Blaugrana kit. Messi's second goal was the record-breaker. And the third goal was the cherry on top on a historic night at the Camp Nou.
I was glad that the record was broken at the Camp Nou: the real "Theatre of Dreams."
To think that Messi is still only 26 years old and has many goals ahead of him is scary. But for all Barcelona fans, it's scary good. For the rest of the football world: not so much.
After the game, Leo reiterated his passion for FC Barcelona and the future: "My objective is to retire here at Barça. As long as people want, I will continue. I'm happy here."
The Camp Nou is your stage, Leo, and we are your audience to watch you give the masterful performances you give every game. Continue to amaze us, thrill us, and continue to make all of us be thankful that we are blessed to have seen Lionel Andres Messi play football.
The Worst: Nothing, really
I got nothing. Besides, how can I complain after a 7-0 win?!
What We Learned: Barcelona come into Clásico in the best form that they could've asked for.
After a week which saw them eliminate Manchester City, and now with their 7-0 destruction of Osasuna, FC Barcelona go into their clash with Real Madrid in the best form they could've asked for.
Lionel Messi is fully fit and fully back to his old self. Pedro and Alexis got the taste of goal in their mouths in the Osasuna game with a goal each, which will help boost confidence heading into the Madrid game. Iniesta is always on point. Xavi was able to get some extra minutes rest after he was subbed out for Alex Song. Hopefully, Gerard Pique will be ready for El Clásico. If not, I have confidence in Marc Bartra, as he has arguably been Barça's best CB this Liga season. Finally, Cesc Fabregas will have fresh legs for the Madrid game as he got some much-needed rest and did not play against Osasuna.
Barça players coming into El Clásico: hot, some rested, and with a taste of goal in their mouths. Not bad at all.
The question mark for some heading into El Clásico may be Neymar. The kid was not at his best against City last week, and did not play against Osasuna. In the October Clásico, he was great. In order for Barcelona to get a win at the Bernabeu, Neymar will have to once again have a big game. I'm not saying he's gotta be the hero, but he has to put much pressure on that Madrid back line. It can't all be Messi, and I'm sure Neymar will do his best to help get the win.
What's Next?: El Clásico at the Bernabeu
FC Barcelona's Liga title chance is on the line as El Blaugrana head to the Santiago Bernabeu to face Real Madrid. Expect Tata Martino to start both Cesc Fabregas and Neymar, as neither footballer played against Osasuna. Don't be surprised it Tata goes to the "Xavi-Iniesta-Cesc all together" lineup that he went with against Manchester City to control the game and tempo.
Xoel's Final Word
It was a historic day at the Camp Nou as Lionel Messi became FC Barcelona's all-time leading goal-scorer as Barça defeated Osasuna 7-0. Touchdown Barça!
Messi and Barça are on fire as their matchup against Real Madrid is next.
FC Barcelona's title chances are on the line at the Bernabeu.
90 minutes of El Clásico is upon us.
Xoel, The Voice of Els Culés