Lionel Messi, a one-man highlight reel each game, scored four goals in a 5-1 victory for FC Barcelona on Sunday, the fourth time he's pulled off that feat as a pro.
The pint-sized striker from Argentina continues a scorching scoring pace that has him ahead of last year's record-setting run, when he ended the season with a Spanish-league record 50 goals.
Messi, 25, leads La Liga this season with 33 goals in 21 games, with Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo a distant second with 21 goals. Messi is the youngest player to reach the 200-goal mark in La Liga play by four years, his four goals Sunday giving him 202. He has an incredible 24 hat tricks (three or more goals in a game) in his career.
"We went out there and took care of business like always," Messi said of the victory over Osasuna. "It was important to put the game away because it isn't easy when everyone is talking so much about the 'clasico.'"
Ronaldo had a hat trick himself on Sunday -- the 20th of his career -- during a 4-0 victory over Getafe. He cleared the 300-goal mark in his pro career. He will lead Real Madrid into a Copa Del Rey game against Barcelona on Wednesday.
"It will be a tough game," said the Portuguese forward. "Barcelona is a fantastic team. We will be missing several important players, but that is not an excuse. It will be a great night."