It looked bad heading into halftime, as RCD Espanyol was up 1-0 thanks to a Sergio Garcia goal in the 13th minute.
Then, Lionel Messi made his presence felt.
Messi's curling golazo just before the halftime whistle changed everything, as FC Barcelona was able to go into the locker room leveled after playing a dismal first half. Leo's goal was his 400th goal as a FC Barcelona player.
In the second half, Messi gave Barça the lead in the 50th minute as he got past one defender via a nutmeg and struck it low, past Espanyol goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, and into the back of the net. Golazo!
Three minutes later, Gerard Pique put Barcelona up 3-1 as Mr. Shakira's header off a corner bounced in for the third goal.
In the 77the minute, Pedro Rodriguez got on the scoreboard, as an amazing Jordi Alba pass found Pedrito onside and the Canarian grabbed his goal.
Last but definitely not least, Leo Messi grabbed his hat trick in the 81st minute as Leo found Pedro who gave it back to Leo and D10S slotted it low and to the far post for his third hat trick in the last 4 games. Legend.
Barcelona wins the Catalan Derby 5-1.
Let's me just say that the first half was looking like a disaster. Once again, it looked like a typical bipolar Barça, as the team played poor defensively, lacked the finishing touch on offense, and looked lost. But once again, Lionel Messi saved the day with his golazo just before the half.
Espanyol lost a golden chance to make it 2-0 in the first half. Thanks to Claudio Bravo's skill, Barcelona was still alive. This play, along with Messi's curling golazo, changed the game.
In the 10th minute, it looked like a clear foul on Xavi inside the penalty box. But the referee didn't see it like that.
Penalti no pitado a Xavi. http://t.co/rO1uJezf71— Vine's y Fotos Barça (@VinesFCB) December 7, 2014
I'm obviously FC Barcelona biased, but as you know via my articles, I'm critical of my club, including toward Lionel Messi, and I give credit where credit is due to whomever. That being said, I am furious that there is a clear bias toward "certain other clubs" in Spain by the referees. There, I said it.
Xavi gets tripped inside the penalty box. If that was @Cristiano, the ref would've given a PK and sent off the opponent.— Xoel Càrdenas (@XoelCardenas) December 7, 2014
Early in the second half, Neymar was brought down inside the box, and once again, the referee didn't see a penalty—probably because Neymar wasn't wearing a white shirt.
No PK given???!!! Wow! Liga refs just gonna give ALL the penalties to @Cristiano this season....— Xoel Càrdenas (@XoelCardenas) December 7, 2014
Meanwhile, Liga referees consider THIS a penalty...
No hate intended, but I'll never understand how Cristiano has gotten rid of his diver-stigma but players like Busquets haven't.— Jen Evelyn (@JenFCB) December 6, 2014
¡Qué asco! Makes me sick!
We must learn to accept the sad fact that FC Barcelona and the rest of La Liga not named Real Madrid is not playing against XI every match; they are playing against XIV: 11 from the opposing team ALONG WITH one referee and two line judges.
Thankfully, the football world has its D10S to show all how to score hat tricks without referees helping nor diving.
His 3rd hattrick within his last 4 games, 0 penalties! pic.twitter.com/GrJZavXcDn— Troll Football (@Troll__Football) December 7, 2014
Can you remember the last time Messi dived in a game?
Yup, me neither.
Messi is always battling. He's a fighter whose had to earn his way to the top the hard way. Yes, Ronaldo has overcome quite a bit as well and also worked hard to get to where he is at. But unlike Ronaldo, who once he got to star status, he relied (and still relies) on flops, referee biases and his star status to get the benefit of the doubt on calls, Lionel Messi wants to earn all of his goals, assists, and team wins the right way, the hard way, and always fair.
And that's why he is respected by most (except Madridistas). Messi represents us. He's a fighter who isn't satisfied with what he's earned; he wants more. He's overcome too much to stop and conform. Leo is determined to go through everyone, if he has to, to reach his goal and lift his people (team) up. Catalunya has always had to fight, and Catalunya has another fighter in Messi. While Cristiano, who is a major talent, is today more of a representation of privilege and the spoiled, diva life, Messi is the representation of the blue-collar, hard-working, overcoming great odds to make it—yet, staying humble and always doing this the right way. Messi is a true role model for all; the same cannot be said about another player. Messi doesn't want anything given to him; he wants to earn it. And if you don't believe me, just remember Leo's reaction when he won the Golden Ball at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Final.
And who doesn't love a story like Leo Messi's? Hollywood loves it, as the trailer for "Messi", the biopic directed by Alex de la Iglesa, will be released on New Year's Day. Watch the trailer (but after you finishing reading this editorial).
I know it shouldn't be all about Messi vs. Cristiano. As mentioned, CR7 is a solid player, we cannot deny. But it's sad and pathetic that such a talent like Ronaldo has to rely on flops, dives, and Oscar-worthy performances to get ahead in football. Personally, I guess I can't stand the fact that some fans and media praise a cheat while bashing the honest player. I know that's how it has always been, but I'll never truly accept it.
Have you seen Leo chew out a teammate? I know I've seen another player do that.
I've seen Messi always be respectful in defeat; I can't say the same for another player.
I've seen Messi point to the heavens and give thanks for a goal while celebrating with his teammates; I've seen another player run to the corner flag, point to himself and act like an arrogant fool.
Some fans and media destroy Messi for "not doing enough" yet completely gives CR7 as pass when he fails. CR7 flops, nothing wrong; Messi makes an error, he's "not interested" or "he's not the same anymore." In a "down season" for Messi, he "magically" has similar stats than Ronaldo, not to mention, led his country to the World Cup Final...but it's Ronaldo that's having a career year?
How sad for Ronaldo that his "best year" of his career is considered a down year by Messi standards.
One player will always be the darling of the media, referees, and Liga, UEFA and FIFA officials, while the other one will be the be and already is the greatest footballer of all-time who doesn't rely on refs or favoritism by media or football governing body officials to "dictate" his game, his records or his stats.
If Messi is a dictator, then comrades, I will follow my Generalísimo Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini till the end.
As it has been mentioned before: Ronaldo is always compared with Messi. Messi is always compared with Pelé, Maradona and Cruyff.
There's a reason for that.
You can like whomever. I'm done. For me, I like people who get things done the right, honest way with class and humility. The debate will never end, but for me, there is no debate. You only have to be a fool, deaf and/or blind not to recognize and accept the greatness that is Lionel Messi as well as the role model traits he embodies.
UP NEXT: a battle against PSG at the Camp Nou in the last UEFA Champions League group stage match. If Barcelona wins, they secure the top spot in Group F. A win or draw by PSG and the Parisians win Group F.
For me, Luis Enrique has to go with a lineup of: Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Alba, Mathieu, Pique, Adriano; Busquets, Rakitic, Iniesta; Neymar, Messi, Suarez. As much as I like Javier Mascherano and Marc Bartra, I'd prefer Jeremy Mathieu at CB for the height and speed factor. With Dani Alves out due to yellow cards, Adriano is experienced and is able to play RB. At 6'5", Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be ready to pounce, and the 6'3" and quick Mathieu would work alongside Pique covering Zlatan. I'd use Xavi as a substitute and Andres Iniesta is ready to start alongside Ivan Rakitic. Luis Suarez, who had a subpar game against Espanyol, will hopefully cause chaos for the PSG defense.
Lionel Messi brings FC Barcelona back and the Blaugrana get the 5-1 win over RCD Espanyol on Sunday.
And THAT'S how you score a hat trick...
Said it before and I'll say it again: cherish every moment you watch Lionel Messi play because we are witnessing someone and something that will never be seen on this earth ever again. We are all truly blessed.
CR7 scored a hattrick with a penalty, tap in and rebound yesterday. Messi scores three utterly brilliant goals a day later.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) December 7, 2014
Lionel Messi has now scored 3 hat-tricks in his last 4 games with 0 penalties. pic.twitter.com/VytcEXJ9LH— Football Vines (@FootballVines) December 7, 2014