Lionel Messi has claimed Cristiano Ronaldo's record for the most hat-tricks in LaLiga history after scoring another treble in Barcelona's 5-2 win over Real Mallorca on Saturday.

In the week he moved above rival Ronaldo with a sixth Ballon d'Or success, Messi showed why he was voted the world's best player with his impressive display at Camp Nou.

The 32-year-old scored two long-range goals in the first half and added a third seven minutes from time to make it 35 career hat-tricks in the Spanish top-flight.

That is one more than Ronaldo, who spent nine years with Real Madrid before joining Serie A giants Juventus in 2018.

Messi's first strike also saw him become the only player to net 10 or more goals in each of the past 14 seasons across Europe's top-five leagues.

Victory moved Barca back to the top of the table, with the champions above Madrid on goal difference ahead of the first Clasico of the season later this month.

Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick in the week he was crowned the world's best player as Barcelona eased to a 5-2 home win over Real Mallorca and reclaimed top spot in LaLiga.

Antoine Griezmann gave Barca a seventh-minute lead and Messi then took over with a couple of goals, either side of Ante Budimir's strike against the run of play.

On a day when the home side's front three clicked into gear, Luis Suarez added a fourth before the end of the first half with a sublime back-heel to round off a fluid passing move.

Budimir pulled another back for Mallorca 26 minutes from time, but Messi rounded off his hat-trick late on as Barca maintained their good form and overtook Real Madrid at the summit.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen claimed a second assist of the season with a quick goal-kick that Griezmann collected and lifted over Manolo Reina after racing through on goal.

Reina produced an impressive save to keep out the returning Sergio Busquets' header, but Messi found a way past the visiting keeper 95 seconds later with a 25-yard curler.

Mallorca, now winless in seven away league outings this season, gave themselves hope when Budimir's shot deflected off Clement Lenglet and looped over Ter Stegen.

But Messi took matters into his own hands with another trademark goal from range, before Suarez capped a fine piece of team play by back-heeling in from eight yards.

Reina frustrated Ernesto Valverde's men with a string of saves and Budimir then headed in from close range to once again give Mallorca a foothold on the game.

Barca made certain of a sixth win in a row in all competitions thanks to Messi's third of the match late on, the forward picking out the roof of the net after being teed up by Suarez to move onto 35 LaLiga hat-tricks in his career – one more than Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi became the only player to score 10 or more goals in each of the past 14 seasons in Europe's top-five leagues with a first-half double against Real Mallorca.

The first of Messi's strikes in Saturday's LaLiga clash, a 25-yard effort that curled away from Manolo Reina, took him into double figures for the league campaign.

The Argentina international, who landed a record sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday, doubled his tally before the interval with another goal from range to make it 11 in 10 league appearances this term.

Messi's highest-scoring league season for Barca came in 2011-12 when he reached 50 goals in 37 appearances.

Lionel Messi's inevitable retirement is a worrying thought but the record-breaker deserves to determine his own fate, according to Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

Messi, 32, suggested the end of his career was "approaching" after winning an unprecedented sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday.

Ernesto Valverde insisted it was a natural line of thinking and nothing to be concerned about but Bartomeu told Catalunya Radio: "I worry about the day Messi goes."

He does not expect that day to come soon and outlined plans to agree a contract extension with Messi before his own term as president ends in 2021, which coincides with the expiry of the Argentine's deal.

"I would like to sign one more contract with Messi," Bartomeu said.

"He has a lot left. We have talked many times and he has no problem continuing at Barca. I have no doubt that he will play here until he retires, it is a commitment from him.

"It will end when he wants because Leo, for being the best, for giving what he has given, it will be up to him to say when he stops.

"He will set the terms. He has the right to decide how and when he wants to finish. He will never leave, this is his club, the club of his life."

Head coach Valverde is also due to become a free agent in 2021 but, unlike Messi, there looks to be a realistic chance of him leaving then or earlier.

The former Athletic Bilbao boss will hope to secure a third successive LaLiga title before decisions are made over his future.

Bartomeu said: "Valverde has a contract until the end of my term. He or Barcelona will decide. To continue with a coach depends on many variables.

"In Barcelona we have seen very short periods of coaches lately. Three [seasons] may be enough, but it is a decision that he must make.

"It depends on exhaustion, fatigue, although I see Valverde is excited, wants to do well, wants success and wants to combine these players who have won everything with the new generation."

Ernesto Valverde is not concerned about Lionel Messi retiring anytime soon after the Barcelona star suggested he was beginning to think about bringing his playing days to a close when he received a record sixth Ballon d'Or.

Messi, 32, overtook long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or stakes on Monday when he beat the Portugal forward and Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk to the individual gong, despite the latter being many people's favourite.

During Messi's acceptance speech, he remarked that he is "aware of how old I am, everything happens very quickly and I know that the moment of withdrawal is approaching".

Barca team-mate Luis Suarez insisted Messi's comments had been misinterpreted by many, adamant the Argentina great will "continue for a long while yet".

And Valverde says he sees Messi's state of mind as entirely normal, convinced his comments have been blown out of proportion.

Speaking ahead of Saturday's visit of Real Mallorca, Valverde said: "It seems natural [to think about retirement]. It seems normal.

"Leo is 32 years old and, although I don't think he is thinking about retirement, it is something that is there [in the future].

"When a player goes over 30 [years old], he always sees the end closer than when he starts, but come on, I think it goes around too much.

"You have to see it naturally. It happens to everyone as the years go by. To think about it doesn't mean it's going to be in three days."

The privilege of coaching Messi is not lost on Valverde, though he expects the honour to become even more apparent in the future.

"One is aware of that, but sometimes the day-by-day does not let you enjoy it at all," Valverde said.

"I think they are things that are valued more over time. I am aware that I have the great fortune to be able to say in a time that I have trained Leo.

"In the same way that the elders talk about [Real Madrid great Alfredo] Di Stefano, we can tell those who come after we were in Messi's time and we enjoyed it, some as close as me."

Jurgen Klopp described Virgil van Dijk receiving praise from Franco Baresi as like "being crowned by the king" after the defender led Liverpool's strong representation in this year's Ballon d'Or list.

Van Dijk narrowly finished second behind Lionel Messi in voting for the 2019 award, with the centre-back one of four Reds to be included inside the top 10.

Yet the Dutchman deserved to scoop the individual honour, according to the legendary Baresi, with the former Italy and AC Milan star stating Van Dijk was "the best" when quote-tweeting a picture of the newly-crowned winner.

Sadio Mane came in fourth, one spot ahead of team-mate Mohamed Salah, but received comforting words from the man who lifted the trophy, with Messi stating how it was a "shame" the Senegal forward finished outside the top three.

Klopp was delighted to see his players acknowledged for a 2018-19 season that climaxed with them lifting the Champions League - and believes there is still even more to come from the "incredible" Mane, who played such a pivotal role in helping Liverpool overcome a first-leg deficit to knock Barcelona out at the semi-final stage.

"The first three in the Ballon d'Or were Messi, Van Dijk and Cristiano [Ronaldo], then Sadio. That is a nice row anyway, having two players there shows how we played a good season," Klopp told the media.

"Sadio is in incredible shape. Since the first day he came in, he's been an incredible player.

"I think I can remember his first goal, against Arsenal. He was running down the line, cutting inside and then, with the next step, with the left foot, into the far corner. I can still remember it, along with all his other goals since then. In each year he has made big steps.

"I saw after how Baresi was really positive about Van Dijk. He [Baresi] is one of the biggest defenders I can remember. That's like being crowned by the king.

"For an offensive player, that's like when Messi says something like this. Sadio, especially in the game against Barcelona at home, was quite impressive.

"If he stays healthy, he will have an incredible career. I think he can climb up, Ballon d'Or wise. But other people make decisions, not even Lionel Messi can decide that."

Goalkeeper Alisson was seventh in the final Ballon d'Or results, while team-mates Roberto Firmino, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Georginio Wijnaldum finished inside the top 30.

Lionel Messi's apparent hint at retirement was "misunderstood", according to Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez.

Messi, 32, said "the moment of withdrawal is approaching" after winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday, leading to retirement talk.

However, Suarez believes the Argentina star's comments were misunderstood, backing the forward to play for years to come.

"[Messi] amazes me because he is a one-off and is making history," Suarez told beIN SPORTS.

"As a friend and team-mate, [the Ballon d'Or] makes me happy and proud because it's a beautiful moment for him.

"[His comments] were misinterpreted. When someone wins a Ballon d'Or they are happy but also nervous.

"Leo is a human being and gets nervous like the rest of us. He wanted to say he might have to contend with retiring in a couple of years.

"It was misunderstood, but I'm sure Leo Messi will continue for a long while yet."

Suarez has starred for Barca since arriving from Liverpool in 2014, but the 32-year-old has also been linked with a move away despite being contracted until 2021.

The Uruguay international said he would do what was best for the LaLiga champions, who sit top of the table.

"If they bring in a new team-mate for me to compete with, that's the same pressure as having to play every three days," Suarez said.

"And I have to be thinking about the future of the club – as a fan of the club, I have to think about the future, and maybe the best thing is if they sign a young or an established player to carry the torch as Barcelona's number nine."

Megan Rapinoe has urged Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, as well as other leading male superstars, to be more outspoken on social issues including racism and sexism.

United States international Rapinoe won the women's Ballon d'Or this week, joining Messi on the stage at the annual awards gala as the Barcelona great claimed the men's prize for a record sixth time, one more than rival Ronaldo.

But Rapinoe, who has long been vociferous in her opposition to discrimination, does not believe her male counterparts are doing enough.

"I want to shout, 'Cristiano, Leo, Zlatan [Ibrahimovic], help me'," she told France Football. "These big stars do not engage in anything when there are so many problems in men's football.

"Do they have the fear of losing everything? They believe that but it's not true.

"Who would scratch Messi or Ronaldo's names from the world of football for a statement against racism or sexism?"

Rapinoe suggested recognition of her individual achievements was in part due to the way she has been open to discussing key topics.

"This Ballon d'Or rewards both," she said. "On the one hand, I am a very good footballer. On the other hand, my activism attracts support.

"People understand that I act to find solutions to the problems in our society. The idea is to empower others to speak loudly."

Lionel Scaloni hopes the 2020 Copa America is not Lionel Messi's last as he eyes success with Argentina.

Argentina will open next year's tournament against Chile at El Monumental on June 12, it was revealed on Tuesday.

Scaloni hopes 32-year-old Messi, who will again be aiming to win his first senior international trophy, plays beyond the 2020 Copa.

"I don't know if it will be the last. Hopefully not," the Argentina coach told reporters.

"But Argentina need the title, more than just him. Hopefully, don't promise anything, but we'll give the maximum to reach the final."

Argentina, who last won the Copa in 1993, will also face Uruguay, Paraguay, Australia and Bolivia in Group A after their opener against Chile.

Scaloni's men beat Chile in the third-place play-off this year, in a game that saw Messi and Gary Medel sent off.

"It's a nice game to start," he said. "Anyone would have been difficult because the debut is always difficult, but this one has a special feeling.

"Chile has always been difficult for Argentina, especially in recent times. Difficult, but we are fine."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp hailed Lionel Messi as "probably the best player I have seen in my life" but thinks Virgil van Dijk should have been awarded the Ballon d'Or.

Barcelona superstar Messi the prestigious honour for a record sixth time on Monday, with organisers France Football declaring his seven-point margin over Van Dijk to be one of the narrowest in the award's 63-year history.

The Barcelona captain finished top of the count with 686 points, just ahead of Van Dijk's 679.

While recognising Messi as the greatest player of his generation, Klopp feels Van Dijk should have been rewarded with the prize for his stellar contribution to Liverpool's Champions League win last season.

He told a media conference: "The decisions are made by journalists, right? I see it slightly different. Lionel Messi is probably the best player I have seen in my life, but last season I cannot remember a more impressive season by a defender ever.

"It would have been right if Virgil had won as well. We won the Champions League and he had an outstanding season."

Van Dijk is likely to line up at the heart of Liverpool's defence for the Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield on Wednesday.

Monday's FA Cup third-round draw conjured up the exact same fixture for the first week of January, with Klopp revealing he would have preferred an easier tie to kick off their cup campaign.

"I didn't run through my living room and celebrate," he said. "It's not exactly what you wish for, but we have no problem playing Everton. It's a big game against big opponents. Obviously, we start the hard way. We cannot change that and we have time to prepare for that Everton game after this one."

Klopp confirmed Liverpool have no new injury concerns for Wednesday's game but says Joel Matip has still not recovered from a knee injury, which has kept him out since the 1-1 draw with Manchester United on October 20.

"Joel needs a bit more time," he explained. "It's healing but not exactly what we wish for."

Lionel Messi beat Virgil van Dijk to the 2019 Ballon d'Or by a slender seven-point margin, the award's organisers have confirmed.

France Football declared Messi's record sixth victory to be among the narrowest in the 63-year history of the prestigious prize.

The Barcelona captain finished top of the count with 686 points, just ahead of Liverpool defender Van Dijk's 679.

Third-placed Cristiano Ronaldo, who did not attend Monday's ceremony, tallied 476 points, 210 fewer than long-time rival Messi.

Sadio Mane, fourth on 347 points, was the only other player to exceed the 200-mark.

"The history of the award has had tighter scores, but the number of voting journalists - 176 this year - was [in the past] much smaller," read a post on France Football's website.

Runner-up Van Dijk praised Messi's "unnatural" ability and said he had complete respect for the 32-year-old.

When asked about five-time winner Ronaldo's absence, he joked: "Was he a candidate?"

Ronaldo's sister, singer Katia Aveiro, failed to see the funny side of the light-hearted comment, firing back at the Dutchman in a lengthy Instagram rant.

"Now, dear Virgil, where you are going, Cristiano Ronaldo has gone and has come a thousand times," she wrote.

"You see, my dear Virgil, that Cristiano Ronaldo was a three-time champion in the country where you have been playing for years and you still haven't got your hand on the trophy.

"Cristiano Ronaldo was even the best player and best scorer in the country where you play Virgil. By the way, he was even younger than you. Then, dear Virgil, Cristiano Ronaldo went to other places and became the greatest player in the history of a club... this club, with this Cristiano guy, even beat you in the Champions League final.

"Of these [Ballons d'Or], Ronaldo already has five, Virgil."

2019 Ballon d'Or points

1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) - 686
2. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool) - 679
3. Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus) - 476
4. Sadio Mane (Liverpool) - 347
5. Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) - 178
6. Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain) - 89
7. Alisson (Liverpool) - 67
8. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) - 44
9. Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) - 41
10. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) - 33

Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski labelled Lionel Messi "one of the best in history" after the Barcelona star claimed a record sixth Ballon d'Or.

Messi finished ahead of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo to win the award in Paris on Monday.

Lewandowski, who placed eighth, paid tribute to Messi for his dominance for more than a decade.

"For sure he is a great player. I can only say congratulations to him," he told reporters.

"It's not the first time for him, one of the best in history not just the last few years.

"I'm glad to be close to so many players because we only get to meet each other on the pitch and now this is something different.

"For sure he is a great player, not just the past year but for 10, 15 years."

Lewandowski, 31, is enjoying another brilliant season for Bayern, already up to 27 goals in 21 games in all competitions.

The German giants are fourth in the Bundesliga, four points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach, but Lewandowski feels his side will only grow.

"I think everything that we are doing now this season and in the Champions League group stage will pay dividends in the future for next year, next season and I think with Bayern Munich we can play better and better," Lewandowski said.

"We have so many great players with potential and I think next season will be something special and I think we can do big things."

Barcelona star Lionel Messi believes his record of six Ballon d'Or awards will be broken.

Messi, 32, claimed the prize for a sixth time in Paris on Monday, beating Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.

While only Ronaldo has also won the award at least five times, Messi feels someone can get more than six.

"I think so. I don't know who but it's possible," he told reporters.

"Records are made to be beaten, but I don't know who or when. But at the moment I hold the record and I'm very happy."

Messi won his first Ballon d'Or in 2009 before his dominance led to him claiming the prize in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015 and this year.

The Argentina international said: "It was unimaginable to win one, let alone six.

"It's a joy to get six, it's very nice the recognition from others and it makes me proud."

Giorgio Chiellini was happy for Lionel Messi to win this year's Ballon d'Or, but the Juventus defender blasted the "theft" that meant Cristiano Ronaldo missed out in 2018.

Barcelona star Messi claimed the prize for a record sixth time on Monday, beating Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Ronaldo.

It came a year after Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric ended the 10-year dominance of Messi and Ronaldo, but it was that decision that upset Chiellini.

"It's OK the Ballon d'Or for Messi this year," the Juve captain told Sky Sport Italia at the Gran Gala del Calcio awards in Milan on Monday.

"The real theft was last year. Real Madrid decided that Cristiano should not win the Ballon d'Or. It was really strange."

Chiellini added: "Real didn't want him to win because he was no longer one of their players."

Ronaldo joined Juventus from Madrid in July last year, and was on Monday named the Serie A player of the year for 2018-19.

Juve and Ronaldo are yet to get to their best this season, now sitting a point adrift of leaders Inter through 14 Serie A games.

"I said that the real Juve will be seen at least from January. We need time," Chiellini said.

"We started very well with a great month and a half, then we suffered a bit of physiological decline, but the results weren't missed.

"Without the draw against Sassuolo [on Sunday], we would talk about super Juve."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.