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Rayo Vallecano 1-5 Barcelona, 2016 La Liga: 3 Things We Learned

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Barcelona are now the only Spanish team in history to stay unbeaten for 35 consecutive matches after a 5-1 win on the road against Vallecano on Thursday, with a hat-trick from Lionel Messi and a great team performance. Here's a few takeaways from a fantastic win in Madrid.

1. Sergio Busquets is insane

Busi has long deserved a mention in this column, and that time has arrived. The best midfielder in the world today had another amazing performance. What was interesting about this one is he didn't have a big participation in the offense, since most of the first half featured long balls from the center-backs to the 'MSN' trio for counter-attacks, and he played just 30 minutes in the second half. Busi was still able to shine in his quite way, though. Every time Barça lost the ball, he was there to stop Rayo's fast breaks before they even started. If he couldn't tackle and recover the ball, he would just close down hard on the player with the ball and force a wild, bad clearance or long ball that would result in nothing.

When Barça had a big advantage and more possession in the second half, Sergio joined the center-backs and formed a back three to start the buildup of plays. That gave freedom to the full-backs to push forward and allowed the midfielders and attackers to move in the middle without worrying about providing width themselves. All because of Busi's positioning and passing quality.

I'll give you a mission, which I successfully completed today: try to focus only on Busquets for the entire game, and you'll finally understand why no defensive midfielder on the planet is even close to his level.

2. Jérémy Mathieu is good again

We can't deny that it was a rough start to the season for Mathieu. He couldn't settle himself either as a center-back or a full-back, struggling with defending in the middle and attacking support on the flank. He fell into the bottom spot of the defender rankings, and had to work hard to regain the trust from Luis Enrique and return to the form he had last season.

It took several months, but now the Frenchman is back to being important on the squad again. He had a great performance at left-back against Rayo, supporting the offense, which got him an assist and a few other good overlapping runs, and holding his own against the opposing wingers. It's always impressing to see how fast Jérémy actually is for a big guy who looks slow at first glance.

Go get some cigarettes, Mathieu. You have earned them.

3. Lionel Messi might actually finish top scorer in La Liga

The Argentine has been simply absurd in 2016. Since the start of January, he has scored 20 goals in 16 appearances, and has found the back of the net 13 times in 11 league games this calendar year. He has already surpassed Neymar Jr. in the rankings and joins Karim Benzema as the third best scorer this term. Now he's trailing his teammate Luis Suárez by six goals, and Cristiano Ronaldo is only four scores away. If he continues on this otherworldly run of form, it is not crazy to predict that Leo will finish with the Pichichi Trophy at the end of the season.

For a guy who missed TWO MONTHS of the campaign, that's not bad. All Hail King Leo.

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