Messi on the mark as Barcelona dispatch Mallorca on La Liga return

Lionel Messi scored and grabbed two assists as Barcelona eased to a 4-0 win away to struggling Real Mallorca, giving the La Liga leaders the perfect return to action after Spanish football’s three-month hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Argentinian has now scored at least 20 league goals in 12 consecutive seasons.

The champions got off to a flying start when the Chilean midfielder Arturo Vidal scored with a diving header in the second minute, while the Danish international Martin Braithwaite scored his first goal for Barça later in the first half.

Jordi Alba then added a third goal in the 79th minute after latching on to a through ball from Messi, who had also set up Braithwaite’s goal. The Argentinian then completed the scoring with a deflected strike in stoppage time. His run of a dozen La Liga seasons in a row with 20 or more goals is a record.

The win takes Barcelona on to 61 points after 28 games, five clear of Real Madrid, who host Eibar on Sunday in their first game back.

The game was played behind closed doors but a fan wearing an Argentina shirt somehow made it on to the pitch, only to be swiftly taken away by security guards.

Messi sends the ball towards the top corner for Barca’s fourth.

Luis Suárez made his first appearance since injuring his knee six months ago, coming off the bench in the second half, while his fellow Uruguayan Ronald Araújo hit the post shortly before Alba struck.

Leganés remain deep in relegation trouble after losing 2-1 at home to Real Valladolid. The home side got off to a nightmare start when the Turkish forward Enes Unal passed the ball into an empty net in the second minute.

Valladolid looked in control for most of the game and doubled their lead when Rubén Alcaraz lashed high into the net in the 54th minute, although Leganés pulled a goal back in the 84th with a penalty from Óscar Rodríguez.

To make matters worse for second-bottom Leganés, Espanyol moved level on points with them thanks to a 2-0 win against Alavés.

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