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Messi Fires Hat-Trick As Barcelona Crush Celtic


David Ramos  Getty Images

Despite scoring a hat-trick against arch-rivals Rangers at the weekend, the 20-year-old Dembele looked short of confidence when he took the penalty and Ter Stegen dived to his right to beat his shot away.

There was no rain but there was a flood of goals at the Camp Nou, where a sparkling Messi hat-trick with four assists and a goal from Neymar, Andres Iniesta and a Suarez brace humiliated Celtic.

His side face a trip to newly promoted Leganes this weekend in LaLiga before hosting Atletico Madrid in a heavyweight encounter next Wednesday at Camp Nou.

Brendan Rodgers’ side looked completely out of their depth in the Champions League opener, although the Bhoys almost drew level just before half-time. “For me, he’s the best player of all time”.

With the hat trick, the Argentine talisman has extended his goal scoring tally to 86 in Europe’s top-tier competition.

“He plays everywhere because he has freedom”.

He was also able to point out that, although the scoreline was embarrassing, his European debut as Celtic manager had not ended in an unusual fashion.

It was Messi’s sixth treble in the history of the Champions League – more than any other player – and the first goal arrived in just the third minute.

“They are the three players in the world who are the best in their position and one of them is unique”, he said.

“You are measuring yourself against the best in the world”.

The Hoops were losing 2-0 at the interval through a Lionel Messi double, but Moussa Dembele had a penalty saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen when it was 1-0 for the home side.

Neymar kept pouring it on, crossing for substitute Andres Iniesta to fire in a vicious volley.

“There can be no embarrassment because they do that to much better teams than ourselves”, said the Northern Irishman. “We were intense and it’s a great night for the fans, rounded off by the record”.

The Spanish midfielder said: “We came off a defeat that hurt us a lot for the way in which it came about”. It’s still very early for us working together.

“It is hard to say anything about him (Messi) which hasn’t been said”. You are frustrated and disappointed.