Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said Lionel Messi’s record-breaking hat-trick was a “good way to celebrate the Ballon d’Or”.
After claiming his sixth Ballon d’Or earlier in the week, Messi’s treble led LaLiga champions Barca to a 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.
Messi’s Ballon d’Or triumph on Monday saw him move clear of Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Barca captain broke the former Real Madrid superstar’s record for the most hat-tricks in LaLiga history.
After Messi’s 35th league treble, Barca boss Valverde hailed the 32-year-old star post-game at Camp Nou.
“Unbelievable,” Valverde told reporters after Barca regained top spot ahead of rivals Real Madrid.
“It was a good way to celebrate the Ballon d’Or.”
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) December 7, 2019
While Messi dominated headlines with his latest match-winning display, Barca team-mate Luis Suarez scored a stunning back-heel to round off a fluid passing move against Mallorca.
On Suarez’s 43rd-minute goal, Valverde added: “The situation took me by surprise. I thought it was a pass to a team-mate.
“It surprised me, but it was an extraordinary goal. I told him that there had been a few easier chances and this one, which was improbable, went in.”
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