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Ranking Lionel Messi's five most memorable Barcelona hat tricks

Last weekend there was a hat trick in the Catalan derby against Espanyol, and on Tuesday there were four more goals as Barcelona put six past Eibar.

September has not been a bad month for Lionel Messi.

So far this season, he has 12 goals in just eight appearances in all competitions, and his trebles against Espanyol and Eibar took him to 39 hat tricks in total for Barcelona.

Here are five of the most memorable ones:

Lionel Messi beats the Eibar defence for his third of four goals on Tuesday.

5. Sevilla, 2014

If you're going to break the La Liga goal-scoring record, you should probably do it in style. That was the logic applied by Messi, anyway.

Telmo Zarra left Athletic Bilbao in 1955 having scored 251 goals for the Basque club in Spain's top flight. It's a record that lasted almost 60 years, until Messi came along.

He drew level with Zarra in a league game at Camp Nou against Sevilla. And he quickly pulled clear, too, scoring two more goals in the same game.

It was a brilliant hat trick as well.

The first was a stunning free kick, the second came via a one-two with Neymar and the third courtesy of a typically slaloming run inside from the right, a give-and-go with Neymar and a perfectly executed finish.

4. Manchester City, 2016

Not even inside knowledge can help stop Messi when he's on form, as former coach Pep Guardiola has found out.

Guardiola worked with him for four years in Catalonia but was helpless to prevent him scoring two goals at Camp Nou as Barca knocked Bayern Munich out of the Champions League in 2015.

Back for more punishment in 2016, now as Manchester City boss, Messi again turned on the style against his former coach, scoring the 37th hat trick of his club career.

A dribble and a one-two with Andres Iniesta -- aided by some sloppy City defending -- led to the first goal. The second was a punched finish from the edge of the box and the third was teed up by Luis Suarez.

Lionel Messi chips Manuel Almunia for another memorable goal.
Messi chips over Arsenal's Manuel Almunia for a hat trick in 2010.

3. Arsenal, 2010

Arsenal had held Guardiola's Barcelona to a 2-2 draw in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal tie in London and Nicklas Bendtner had given them an early lead at Camp Nou in the return fixture. Were Arsenal about to knock out the holders on their own patch?

Not on Messi's watch.

The Argentine responded, not just with a hat trick, but with four goals to help Barca seal a 6-3 aggregate win.

He levelled the scores with a thumping effort from 18 yards and then edged the Blaugrana in front with some neat control and a tidy finish from close range.

The hat trick goal came via one of those dinks over the goalkeeper that were so prevalent in the early years of his career, and he added his fourth goal by holding off three Arsenal defenders and beating Manuel Almunia at the second time of asking.

2. Bayer Leverkusen, 2012

The situation wasn't as desperate as it was against Arsenal, but five goals in one game by any standard is generally quite good. That's how many Messi scored in 90 minutes against Bayer Leverkusen in the round of 16 in the Champions League in 2012.

There were two lobbed efforts over the goalkeeper, two more deadly finishes -- one after a right-to-centre run and the other from the edge of the box -- and a rare tap-in following some good build-up play and some poor defending.

Lionel Messi v Real Madrid 2007
It's been almost 10 years since Messi's stunning hat trick at age 19 against Real Madrid.

1. Real Madrid, 2007

Imagine scoring a hat trick in the Clasico, arguably the world's most-watched club fixture, while you're still a teenager.

Messi doesn't have to. As a 19-year-old, he stunned Real Madrid in a 3-3 draw at Camp Nou, helping Barcelona come from behind three times, with the final equaliser coming in the 90th minute of the game.

This was Ronaldinho's Barca, but people were beginning to learn about Messi. And if they hadn't heard of him before, they almost certainly had now.

Madrid led three times through two Ruud van Nistelrooy goals and another from Sergio Ramos, but Messi responded each time: A typical gliding run and calm finish, followed by a blasted effort and completed with the showpiece, a dashing drive into the box and a smashed finish past Iker Casillas minutes before the referee blew for full-time.

Unfortunately for Barca, Messi's hat trick -- just like his stunning winner and celebration at the Bernabeu last season -- didn't stop the league title from going to Real Madrid.

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.


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