Barcelona moved into LaLiga's top five after Frenkie de Jong's goal clinched a 1-0 victory over bottom club Huesca in Lionel Messi's 500th league appearance for the club.

Blaugrana boss Ronald Koeman, who warned before the game that defeat would all but end his side's title challenge, saw a much-improved Barcelona performance as he earned back-to-back LaLiga away wins for the first time in his tenure.

Messi came back into the side after missing Barca's disappointing 1-1 draw with Eibar due to an ankle injury and was at his talismanic best, deftly assisting De Jong's volleyed goal after just before the half-hour mark.

Huesca did open the visitors up on occasion and it remains to be seen whether Koeman can restore some consistency and style to this team, but they did enough here to climb above Sevilla in the table.

Barcelona's early pressure paid off after 27 minutes when Messi played an exquisite chipped pass into the box, where De Jong evaded two defenders and guided the ball into the corner of the net from six yards on the volley.

Messi would have capped a fine first-half performance with a superb goal five minutes from the interval had Alvaro Fernandez not pulled off a spectacular save, palming his dipping 20-yard free-kick over the crossbar.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner flashed a fierce effort narrowly wide from the edge of the box early in the second period, before Marc-Andre ter Stegen got down well to prevent Rafa Mir's close-range shot from becoming the equaliser.

Ousmane Dembele should have put the game beyond doubt when he went one-on-one with Fernandez 13 minutes from time, but the Huesca goalkeeper saved at his feet and then denied Messi again before full-time.

Lionel Messi will make his 500th LaLiga appearance for Barcelona in Sunday's meeting with Huesca after returning to Ronald Koeman's starting line-up.

Messi missed Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Eibar after he was given an extended break over Christmas to nurse an ankle problem.

However, Koeman confirmed on Saturday that the 33-year-old had trained on December 30 and 31, and Messi has subsequently returned to Barca's starting XI for a landmark outing at Estadio El Alcoraz.

Messi's 500 league appearances for Barca is five short of the club-record held by Xavi, who also holds the record for all-time appearances for the Blaugrana with 767. 

Xavi's total is 17 more than Messi's current tally of 750, including Sunday's game.

The record for the most matches ever played in LaLiga is held by former goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, with 662 games under his belt for Athletic Club, Barca and Valencia.

Barca make the trip to Huesca unbeaten in five league matches, but they have drawn two of their last three and enter the game 13 points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid.

Messi was directly involved in four goals in his only previous LaLiga game against Huesca, scoring twice and providing two assists in September 2018.

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