Magical Messi leads Barcelona to crucial victory over Villareal

“Cristiano Ronaldo’s most impressive skill sometimes gets forgotten” – Thomas Muller

They're last trip away from home was arguably their best of the season, winning at the Vicente Calderon, 1-0 against Atletico Madrid. Neymar pounced on a ball in the box to poke home the game's opening goal, but Roberto Soldado soon equalized.

Earlier, Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were all on target to take their combined tally for the season to 102 as Barcelona kept pace at the top with a 4-1 win over Villarreal.

Barcelona have extended their superb run against Villarrreal.

During 16 years with Barcelona Messi has won 29 major honours including the La Liga title eight times and the Champions League on four separate occasions, with his status as the club's greatest ever player, regardless of the decision over his future, firmly secure.

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Messi's first cancelled out Cedric Bakambu's equaliser, while his second rounded off the scoring, with Luis Suarez having given the hosts a two-goal cushion.

Barcelona thus can not afford to drop more points in the remaining three games - with Villarreal, Las Palmas and Eibar - and the visit of the Yellow Submarine looks arguably the toughest.

The capital club, though, have two games in hand, the first at relegated Granada tonight. Luis Suarez scored before Messi rounded things off from the penalty spot.

Facing a side who had conceded just 10 goals away from home all season, Barca controlled the ball, but found it hard to break down a well-drilled Villarreal midfield and defense.

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Barcelona, trying to win its second consecutive Spanish league title, may count on the return of midfielder Andres Iniesta, who missed the game at Espanyol last weekend because of a right leg muscle injury.

Atletico guaranteed a top-four finish as Saul Niguez's victor 21 minutes from time earned a 1-0 win over Eibar.

Barca continued to look vulnerable at the back after the interval, and it was clear they needed another goal to put the game to bed.

Villarreal now occupy the sole automatic Europa League spot in fifth but are only two points ahead of seventh-placed Real Sociedad with Athletic Bilbao one point better off in sixth.

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